The at-risk-of-poverty rate was 9% in Iceland in 2018, with 31,400 individuals living in households with disposable income below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold. The at-risk-of-poverty rate was lower in Iceland than in the other Nordic countries, where it was between 12% and 16.4%. This is among newly published results from EU-SILC for Iceland.

Since the beginning of EU-SILC in Iceland, the at-risk-of-poverty rate has been higher among tenants than homeowners. In 2018, about 20% of households living in rented quarters were at–risk-of-poverty while the rate was 6% among households living in their own property. The at-risk-of-poverty rate has been 25% on average among tenants since the onset of the survey, the bottom being reached at 20% in 2014 and 2018 and the peak at 32% in 2009. The proportion of homeowners at-risk-of-poverty peaked at 11% in 2007 and reached its bottom in 2011 and 2012, when it was as low as 5%. It is however noteworthy that approximating the at-risk-of-poverty rate from the survey is harder in the case of tenants than in it the case of homeowners, as wider confidence intervals for the former group make evident.

lágtekjumörk-19 The picture shows the at-risk-of-poverty-rate (%) and 95% confidence intervals.

In 2018, 4% of individuals were materially deprived and about 0.7% were severely deprived. This is a decrease since 2016, when 6.1% lived in materially deprived households and 1.9% were severely deprived.

Material deprivation is relatively rare in Iceland in European comparison, as is the case for the other Nordic countries. In 2017, the proportion of individuals living in materially deprived households averaged at 15% in countries within the EU, being lowest in Sweden at 4% and highest in Bulgaria at 44%.

About the data
The data comes from EU-SILC for Iceland. In addition to publishing results on material deprivation 2016-2018 previous results were re-evaluated. Due to a change in wording of the question regarding vacation, data from 2016-2018 is not fully comparable to previous data.

At-risk-of-poverty rate is the proportion of individuals who have disposable income under the at-risk-of-poverty threshold. This threshold is defined as 60% of the median of disposable income per consumption unit, which are based on the total disposable income as well as the composition of the household. Two adults with two children, as an example, need 2.1 times the disposable income of an individual who lives alone, to have equal disposable income.

Those who are defined as living with material deprivation live in a household that fulfils at least three of the following criteria, according to the survey:

  1. The household has been in arrears with mortgage or other loans due to financial difficulties in the past 12 months.
  2. The household cannot afford a week long holiday away from home.
  3. The household cannot afford meat, fish or comparable vegetarian meal at least every second day.
  4. The household cannot face unexpected costs.
  5. The household cannot afford a telephone or a mobile phone.
  6. The household cannot afford a television.
  7. The household cannot afford a washing machine.
  8. The household cannot afford a car.
  9. The household cannot afford keeping the house adequately warm.

Material deprivation
Income-risk of poverty