Monday 16 May 2016 3:08 pm

"Persistent" poverty rates show UK citizens among the least likely in the EU to be trapped in poverty

People living in the UK are among the least likely in the European Union to be trapped in poverty, new numbers from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released today have shown.

Between 2011 and 2014, 6.5 per cent of the UK’s population were classified as being in “persistent poverty”. The number – which equates to 3.9 million individuals – is a measure of relative poverty which tracks how many people live in a household where disposable income is less than 60 per cent of the national median for at least three of the last four years.

The UK was ranked 26th out of the 28 members of the European Union, where only Denmark and the Czech Republic had lower levels of persistent poverty. In absolute terms, disposable incomes, however, were higher in the UK at around $27,000 (£18,770) per household compared to $26,400 in Denmark and $18,000 in the Czech Republic.

Romania had the highest levels of persistent poverty with more than one in five citizens falling into the group. The average across the European Union was 10.4 per cent.

The ONS noted: “In the UK, the chances of getting into poverty are relatively high, but the chances of getting out of poverty are also high”, as it found that one-third of the population lived in relative poverty at some stage in the past three years.

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In unsurprising news, those who left education without a formal qualification where the most likely to be in poverty in the UK – twice as likely as those with a degree.

The proportion of children living in persistent poverty jumped from 6.3 per cent to 9.1 per cent between 2013 and 2014. Children are now as likely to face economic hardship as pensioners – historically the group most likely to be in poverty.

Women were also 26 per cent more likely to be in persistent poverty than men.