One third of the European population are unable to face unexpected financial expenses

Nearly one third of Europeans have difficulty facing unexpected financial costs, show the data of the European statistical office Eurostat. In a few countries the situation has improved in 2020, compared to 2019, according to Eurostat data, which is partial for some member states and for others there’s still no actual information. At first glance, surprisingly in the crisis, but in the EU some countries have declined in the share of people with inability to pay unexpected costs. Among them are countries from West and Central Europe, but also countries from South East Europe – Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Cyprus. 

Bulgaria is among the member states where this indicator is above the EU average level – 36.5%. According to incomplete data for 2020, as many as 43.5% of the Bulgarian population would’n be able to face unexpected expenses. The country ranks among the first places in the deterioration of this indicator in 2020 compared to 2019. There is a significant improvement compared to 2017, when unexpected expenses were a problem for more than half of the Bulgarians. The trend is similar in many European countries.

Material deprivation refers to the enforced inability to pay for or afford specific expenses; one example is unexpected financial expenses, noted Eurostat. In 2019, a little less than one third (30.9 %) of the EU population living in private households were unable to face an unexpected financial expense. More than two fifths of the population were unable to face an unexpected financial expense in six of the EU Member States, with this share peaking in Croatia at 51.7 %. By contrast, a relatively small share of the population in Malta was unable to face such expenses – 15.1 %. 

Croatia has made progress in the last years and less than half of the population in the country have difficulties with unexpected costs, shows the preliminary data. Bulgaria has a similar trend – sharp improvement after 2017. This was the last year, when more than half of the Bulgarians reported being unable to face unexpected financial expenses. In the following year their share fell below one third, but rose again since then. 

The EU member states in the Eurostat survey have differences in their specific living costs, incl. financial expenses. Bulgaria, along with Romania, has very low living costs, shows the Eurostat data. At the opposite pole are the Scandinavian countries, where a significant part of the population has material difficulties, but on the background of much higher costs for energy, water, food and houses. 

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