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Quarter of a million elderly Swedes risk poverty

Quarter of a million elderly Swedes risk poverty

As many as 245,000 older people in Sweden aged over 65 years are below the limit of poverty risk, revealed a new report by the Pension Authority in Sweden.

By – Brünnhilde

In comparison with the rest of the Nordic countries, Sweden suffers from a higher proportion of poor pensioners, or as the Pension Authority calls it: pensioners with a “relatively low financial standard”.

This proportion is approximately 12 percent, or 245,000 people.

“The main reason why older people have not reached the upper limit of relatively low economic standard is that they do not have, or are not entitled to, maximum housing allowance and/or elderly support from the Swedish government”, says the agency in a press release.

Of the 245,000 people who were below the limit of relatively low economic standard in 2017, 162,000 were women.

“Women, single and elderly in the age group over 65, are at greater risk of falling below the income limit for relatively low economic standards. The main reason is a combination of low income-based pensions and low housing costs,” explains Ole Settergren, chief analyst at the Pension Authority.

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“Low housing costs mean lower or no housing allowance, and the latter is thus counted as income. Higher housing costs thus increase the income on the paper and it has a major impact on the statistics,” he continues.

Eurostat, the European Statistical Office, has previously calculated that more 17 per cent is below the poverty line. This is because Eurostat uses the OECD scale while the Pension Authority uses the national scale produced by Statistics Sweden. In Eurostat’s calculation of the household’s economic standard, capital income is excluded, which is included in the SCB survey on household finances. Another difference is that the Pension Authority believes that Sweden is in line with the EU average.

“A large proportion of retired pensioners in Sweden are close to the limit for low economic standards, which means that even minor changes in the limit value will have major effects in the statistics,” concludes Ole Settergren.
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