Number of Austrians living in poverty rises by more than half

GENEVE – The number of Austrians in absolute poverty has risen by more than 50 percent – from 201,000 in 2022 to 336,000 last year, the country's statistical office announced on Thursday.

Measured against the population, this represents an increase from 2.3 percent in 2022 to 3.7 percent in 2023. This is the highest figure over the past five years.

According to the figures presented by Statistics Austria, the people affected were unable to afford many everyday items such as rent, heating or food and unexpected expenses of up to €1,370 ($1,469).

Children and young people are comparatively more often affected by poverty than adults.

Around 5.3 percent of people under the age of 18 (88,000 people) were significantly materially and socially disadvantaged. In contrast, 1.9 percent of over-65s (30,000 people) were affected.

According to Statistics Austria, the risk of poverty has remained largely stable despite high inflation. The proportion of those affected has risen by 0.1 percentage points to 14.9 percent – this corresponds to around 1.3 million people in Austria.

Single parents are particularly at risk of poverty at 41 percent and families with at least three children at 31 percent.

According to Statistics Austria, the proportion of people at risk of poverty would even be 42 percent without state social benefits.

“The price increases for food, rents and energy have exacerbated the situation of people living in poverty,” Austrian Social Affairs Minister Johannes Rauch told the Austrian press service OTS.

“This is shameful for a country like Austria,” Rauch emphasized.

The minister described the increasing child poverty in Austria as “worrying” and said: “The fact that children have to grow up in poverty is completely unacceptable to me.”

The data from Statistics Austria comes from a survey of around 6,000 Austrian households as part of the annual EU-Silc survey. (Anadolu)