27% of Europeans say they are in a precarious situation

The first European Barometer on Poverty and Precariousness conducted for French Secours Populaire shows a very difficult social situation on a continental scale

The author(s)

  • Etienne Mercier Public Affairs, France
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For the first time, Ipsos and Secours Populaire have set up a European Barometer of Precariousness and Poverty, in order to observe the social situation, as well as the opinions and concerns of the inhabitants of several European countries (France, United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, Italy and Poland).

Many Europeans declare falling into financial difficulties

More than 1 in 4 (27%) say they are in a precarious situation, with an unexpected expense that could push them into poverty

This situation is particularly difficult in Greece, where 51% of respondents say they are in this situation.

Beyond their own situation, the Europeans see the precariousness around them, particularly in their neighborhoods, with 41% observing that there are many precarious people in their neighborhoods and 30% in their close circle or at work. This difficult situation is particularly worrying in Greece, Italy and Poland.

Elderly people are particularly impacted by poverty

Among the different categories of populations perceived as potentially precarious, they are by far the most affected by precariousness and poverty (50% cite them).

However, there are disparities between countries: the Greeks and Italians put young people in first place among the populations most vulnerable to precariousness.

One in two Europeans is afraid of falling into precariousness

With inflation continuing to rise in Europe, 55% of Europeans feel that there is a significant risk that they will find themselves in an unstable financial situation in the coming months. They have little financial leeway, with 64% saying they do not know which expenditure to compromise on, as they have already cut down on everything they can.

This anxiety is booming in Italy and Greece and now concerns seven out of 10 people.

Many Europeans are currently facing complicated choices due to a difficult financial situation

More than one in three Europeans say they have had to restrict their travel recently (36%). More than one in five say they have been cold recently and have not turned up the heating at home (22%). One in seven has even had to ask for the help of relatives (14%) or take several jobs (13%).

80% have already been confronted with one of these difficult situations, 53% even having been in the last six months.

Parents of children under 18 also report very complicated situations

Two-thirds (66%) have already had to face a complicated situation due to financial difficulties. Nearly one in two has already given up on their child going on holiday (49%) and more than one in five admit to having encountered this situation recently (22%).

Many have also given up on registering their child for activities (45%), with one in five saying they have had to make this decision in the last few months (20%).

A third of parents (33%) even say they cannot give their child a sufficiently varied diet, with one in six Europeans admitting they faced this situation recently (16%).

Above all, beyond these difficult situations, parents are also worried: 49% say they are already afraid of not being able to meet their children’s needs. More seriously, almost one in four say they have experienced this feeling in recent months (23%).

In order to provide good living conditions for their children, many parents are forced to sacrifice certain things

If in the first place they deprive themselves of what may appear to be the most incidental things, like leisure activities and outings (76%, of which 31% say often), many also sometimes deprive themselves of more essential items such as food (48%) and even medical treatment (46%, of which 15% even say they do so often).

More than one in two Europeans feel prices are rising and their purchasing power is decreasing

This trend raises concerns as the situation could get worse.

54% of them believe that their purchasing power has decreased over the last three years. Among them, more than one in four say that their purchasing power has even decreased a lot (26%).

This feeling is particularly strong in Greece (68%) but also in France (63%).

Among those whose purchasing power has decreased, the cause seems obvious

Indeed, 89% cite inflation and price increases as the reason for this decrease.

Moreover, as the situation in terms of price increases does not seem to be improving, many Europeans are concerned about their ability to cope in the future.

In this very difficult context, Europeans do not feel secure

If they were experiencing a situation of poverty tomorrow, less than one in two Europeans say they could benefit from support in terms of food aid (only 49%) or material aid (47%).

Ipsos | French secours populaire| society | poverty

About the French Secours Populaire

French Secours Populaire, an association recognized as being of public utility, acts for a fairer and more united world, by enabling everyone to become emancipated and find their place as a citizen, wherever they live, work or study. 


About the study

This Ipsos survey for Secours Populaire Français was conducted online from 17th June to 6th July 2022 among 6,000 Europeans aged 18 and over in each of the 6 countries surveyed: France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, United Kingdom.
The representativeness of each sample is ensured by the quota method.

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The author(s)

  • Etienne Mercier Public Affairs, France

Society