One in eight slips below poverty line in Finland

09:52, November 03, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

The number of poor in Finland was growing at an increasing pace, local media reported Tuesday.

According to EU and OECD standards, between 600,000 and 700,000 people in the country are classified as living in poverty, which is roughly 13 percent of the whole population. The status of the unemployed, in particular, has worsened as benefits have not kept up with the general rise in income levels.

Many people in Helsinki struggle to make ends meet. Nasu Kuuvalo is a department store sales clerk, earning 1,300 euros (1,823 U.S. dollars) per month, 150 euros (210 U.S. dollars) above the official poverty line.

"I pay my bills, buy food and that's all my money. I've had to give up the membership of a gym," she said.

In Helsinki, the number of poor had jumped by the end of 1990s. The increase has been explained by structural changes in the economy and the bursting of the IT bubble at the beginning of the 2000s, according to Finnish media reports.

"In Helsinki, 14 percent of the population live below the poverty line," said Leena Hietaniemi, researcher of Helsinki's urban facts department.

The numbers continue to increase. Many dwellers in the capital have to depend on the welfare safety net to survive. More than one in 10 working people in Helsinki receive income support, a subsidy reserved for those struggling to afford basic necessities.

"Living costs are high in the capital region. Households are forced to rely on public sector support, such as housing subsidies," Hietaniemi said.

The latest income tax data released on Monday, however, indicated that the income gap narrowed during the recession. Last year, incomes rose by 1 percent on average. Researchers expect the gap to widen again as the economy recovers.

Source: Xinhua


  • Do you have anything to say?


Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Chinese Navy soldiers hold an evening party marking the upcoming 62nd National Day aboard Chinese Navy hospital ship "Peace Ark" in the Pacific on Sept. 28, 2011. The Chinese National Day falls on Oct. 1. (Xinhua/Zha Chunming)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 30, 2011 shows the crowd at the plaza of Beijing Railway Station in Beijing, capital of China. The railway transportation witnessed a travel peak with the approach of the seven-day National Day holidays on Friday. (Xinhua)
  • A man wearing high-heel shoes takes part in the 3rd annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, an event when men literally walk in women's shoes to raise awareness about ending violence against women, at Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto, Canada, Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua/Zou Zheng)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 29, 2011 shows a cargo ship in danger on the sea near Zhuhai City, south China's Guangdong Province. Cargo ship Fangzhou 6 of Qingzhou of southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region lost control after water stormed into its cabin due to Typhoon Nesat on the sea near Zhuhai Thursday, leaving 12 crew members in danger. Rescuers rushed to the ship and saved them by using a helicopter. (Xinhua)
  • Actress Gong Li poses for L'Officiel Magazine. (Xinhua Photo)
  • Demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street campaign hold placards as they march in the financial district of New York September 29, 2011. After hundreds of protesters were denied access to some areas outside the New York Stock Exchange on September 17, demonstrators set up a rag-tag camp three blocks away. Zuccotti Park is a campground festooned with placards and anti-Wall Street slogans. The group is adding complaints of excessive police force against protesters and police treatment of ethnic minorities and Muslims to its grievances list, which includes bank bailouts, foreclosures and high unemployment. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
Hot Forum Discussion