Thursday, November 7, 2013

9 million poor people in France

According to the news tonight, there are 9 million poor people in France earning (or receiving) less than 977 Euros a month. This is equivalent to 11,724  Euros per year or Euros 33 per day.

In some countries, poverty is less than 2 dollars a day. Poverty is relative.

France has 8.8 million poor in 2011 according to INSEE data. How is it possible, in one of the richest countries in the world?

Since 2008, the French statistics body INSEE uses the European definition of poverty. Earlier it used 50% of median income (and not average per capita income which is influenced upwards by a few very rich people). Now, it uses 60% of the median income.

Note that the monthly median income in France is 1,628 Euros, much less than the average per capita income of 2,583 Euros per month. Annually, the median translates to about 19,500 Euros as opposed to an annual average per capita income of about 31,000 Euros.





50% of the median income is 814 Euros, while 60% (as used by Europe) is 977 Euros per month (for a single person). This makes the number of persons concerned rise from 4.9 million to 8.8 million. That is, instead of 8% of the French population, 14.3% of the French population is poor. Clearly, the poverty debate is all about statistics!



Number of poor people in thoursands

Threshold at 50%
Threshold at  60%
1970
6 500
9 187
1975
5836
9020
1979
4898
7918
1984
4667
7685
1990
4214
8337
1996
4550
8179
2000
4165
7838
2005
4270
7766
2010
4677
8520
2011
4856
8729
Source: INSEE


No matter which threshold you take, the number of poor has remained constant between 4 and 5 million (at 50%) or between 8 and 9 million (at 60%) over a period of 40 years. However, population has increased and there may be some marginal gains out of poverty.

At these levels of life, the poverty line is about twice the dole (or RSA): € 492 for a single person. The poverty threshold is equivalent today - once adjusted for inflation - to the median of the 1970s. Today's poor at the threshold therefore have almost the standard of living as the middle class of that time.

What does poverty mean in a rich country? In France, 7% of households cannot maintain their housing at the right temperature, 10% cannot receive friends, 11% live in a noisy home ...

Obviously, the French social model needs a change. But who should pay for this change? Should it continue to be the middle classes or should the rich make an effort?

In any case 65 million population minus 9 million, leaves us with 56 million middle class and rich people. Assuming that a million are rich, we are still 55 million middle class or about 85% of the population. Surely, some party should be looking at our rights and not just our obligations.





Most of the statistics and facts for this paper have been translated and adapted from http://www.inegalites.fr/spip.php?article936 ... great website


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