Finance & Financial Regulation / COVID-19 / financial assistance / financial literacy / inequality / welfare state

Can households in the European Union make ends meet?

Posted On: Jul 24, 2020   |   Posted By: Bruegel

Can households in the European Union make ends meet?

This article originally appeared in the Greek daily newspaper “Kathimerini”.
Would you be able to afford a medium-size unexpected cost in your family, say a surgery or a funeral, urgent repairs at home or needing to replace a washing machine? This is a question asked in a survey carried out by Eurostat, the European Union's office of statistics, aiming to understand how households assess their own capacity to afford an unexpected expense.
One in three households in the EU are unable to afford such an expense. The corresponding figure in Greece is 50%, which puts the country in the third worst position after Latvia and Croatia. Half the households surveyed deem themselves unable to find the resources they would need to cope with an unexpected expense within a month, estimated by experts at 375 euros in the case of Greece.
The amount of 375 euros represents about a quarter of the average monthly income of Greek households. The choice of such an amount does not aim to test the “affordability” of...

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