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Malta Registers Drop In Severe Material Deprivation But 16% Can’t Afford Unexpected Expense 

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The number of people living in a state of severe material deprivation experienced a slight decline between 2019 and 2020, but 82,169 people remained unable to afford unexpected financial expenses amounting to €740 or more. 

The statistics emerge from the European Statistics on Income and Living Conditions – an annual survey carried out across the EU. 

According to the survey, the number of people living under conditions of material deprivation increased from 40,371 in 2019 to 43,733 in 2020. The number of people found to be experiencing severe material deprivation fell from 17,506 to 16,636 during the same period. 

For the purpose of the survey, material deprivation is defined as living in a household unable to afford three of nine “deprivation items”. 

Deprivation items include a colour TV, a phone, a car, a washing machine, a warm house in the winter, a meat-based meal every two days, a one week holiday away from home, enough money to face an unexpected financial expense and missing mortgage, rent or utility bill payments. 

Severe material deprivation is defined as being unable to afford four of these items. 

Of those who were found to be living in such conditions, 4% were elderly individuals, aged 65 or over, 3% were adults aged between 18-64, while 3.9% were children aged 17 or under. 

Comparing the results to those registered in 2019, it is worth noting that the rate of people living in deprived conditions grew faster than the rate at which the population grew in the vast majority of categories. 

The two categories that saw a decrease were people who said they were unable to keep their home warm during the winter, and those who said they were late on payments like rent or utility bills.

Reacting to the survey, the Social Solidarity Ministry noted the decrease in the number of people living under conditions of severe material deprivation, highlighting that it had fallen by 25,574 people since 2013. 

It said that a “new aspect” that emerged from the statistics was that the number of people not living in materially deprived conditions had increased from 423,082 in 2016 to 488,378 in 2020. 

The ministry said the survey showed that the government’s efforts to strengthen social justice were paying off.

What do you make of these statistics?

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