Poverty is relative. We are often lectured on the wealth of the Scandinavians but it must be viewed in context.
440,000 Finns, equivalent to 8 per cent of the population, do not earn enough to maintain a reasonable level of consumption, according to the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).
The housing expenses of home owners living alone are estimated at 156 euros a month, while those of tenants living alone are estimated at 388–540 euros a month, depending on their place of residence. Couples, meanwhile, need 1,126 euros a month to cover their reasonable living expenses and an additional 550–730 euros to cover their monthly rental costs, the report indicates.
A household is deemed to be at risk of poverty if its disposable income per consumption unit is below 60 per cent of the national median income.
Roughly 12.5 per cent of households, equivalent to 674,000 people, are currently at risk of poverty in Finland, according to the definition.
“The difference is attributable primarily to the fact that the minimum budget-based poverty threshold takes into account the lower housing expenses of home owners,” explains THL. “The minimum budget-based poverty threshold is 1,077–1,234 euros a month for tenants living alone, depending on their place of residence, and 837 euros a month for home owners living alone.”
Nearly one-fifth, or 19 per cent, of single parents did not earn enough to maintain a reasonable level of consumption.