Poverty in Europe

The global context of poverty and hunger 

In September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. SDG 1 seeks to “End poverty in all its forms everywhere” and SDG 2 seeks to “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”.

Poverty or social exclusion in the EU-27


In 2020, 96.5 million people in the EU at risk of poverty or social exclusion, representing 21.9% of the population.


Among the 96.5 million inhabitants within the EU that faced the risk of poverty or social exclusion, some 5.9 million (1.3% of the total population) lived in households experiencing simultaneously all three poverty and social exclusion risks (risk of poverty, severely materially and socially deprived and living in a household with very low work).

More than a quarter of the population was at risk of poverty or social exclusion in four Member States with available 2020 data: Romania (35.8%), Bulgaria (33.6%), Greece (27.5%) and Spain (27.0%).

In contrast, the lowest shares of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion were recorded in Czechia (11.5%), Slovakia (13.8%), Slovenia (14.3%), the Netherlands (15.8%) and Finland (15.9%).

Learn more about statistics on people at risk of poverty and social exclusion here (updated in October 2021).

The headline target (EU2030 target)on poverty and social inclusion of the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan is to reduce the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion by at least 15 million by 2030. Progress towards this target is monitored through the AROPE rate, published by Eurostat.