Monitoring multidimensional poverty in the EU regions
A recent study, co-authored by the JRC and the Directorate General on Regional Policy, aims at measuring the area-specific poverty in the European Union (EU). Poverty at the sub-national level is captured either according to the NUTS 1 level or to the degree of urbanisation within a country. Inspired by the UN's Multidimensional Poverty Index, a EU-specific Multidimensional Poverty Index at the regional level is developed herein (MPI-reg) using data from the European Union Survey on Income and Living Conditions (EU SILC).
The MPI-reg framework is built along three main indices: Multidimensional Poverty in Health Index, Poverty in Education Index and Multidimensional Poverty in Living Standards Index. The MPI-reg is computed for 23-25 EU countries in 2007-2011. The results show that the level of poverty in the EU regions ranges from 2–3 % to 15–25 %, with Denmark and Sweden being unequivocally the least poor countries and Latvia, Bulgaria and Romania, the poorest countries. There seems to be a positive relationship between the stratification level and all adjusted headcount ratios and intensity of poverty scores. This positive relationship implies that there are countries where there is no stratification with respect to poverty (e.g. Sweden, Denmark, the Czech Republic, and Finland) and countries, usually poor ones, such as Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Belgium and Italy, where considerable stratification with respect to poverty occurs. In general, in poor and moderately poor countries, low poverty levels are observed in sparsely populated areas, and viceversa. Instead, in the best scoring countries, poverty is higher in the densely populated areas.
Additionally, the analysis showed that between 2005–07 and 2009–11, notable changes in inequality with respect to poverty occurred: a decrease in inequality most often occurred in Poland and Spain, whereas Belgium and Italy we most often spotted as countries with growing regional differences. Overall, the results indicated that the EU regions are strongly diversified with respect to poverty. Therefore, relying only on country level estimates of poverty in the EU countries may be highly misleading.