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Considering Relocating to Europe? Stay Informed About Poverty Trends!

Updated: Aug 16, 2023

Hello every one, things are changing fast in Europe!

Of course when many South Asian talents are thinking of building a new life in Europe you're planning to earn 3-4-5x your current income or even more! That's surely possible, however you need to understand that Europe is also becoming more and more challenging for many to live decently. Naturally anyone in the industry focuses on the positive side of life, especially when a life changing step like moving to live and work in Europe. At Optima Forma we believe it's better to inform international job seekers as much as possible about the challenges. This blog falls into this category.

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For jobseekers looking to build a new life in Europe, understanding the economic landscape and poverty trends is essential. In this blog, we will delve into the current poverty scenarios in the UK, Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal, supported by statistics and references, to help jobseekers make informed decisions about their relocation. We will also provide insights into poverty trends in major cities within each country and take a broader look at the overall job market.

The Rising Trend in the UK: As of 2021, the UK has experienced a rising trend in poverty. According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, nearly 14 million people were living in poverty in the UK in 2019/2020, before the pandemic struck. The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the situation, with many families facing financial hardships due to job losses and reduced income. These figures highlight the importance of understanding the challenges posed by rising poverty levels before making the decision to relocate.

Poverty Trends in Major Cities: London, the capital of the UK, has a higher poverty rate compared to other regions in the country. The Trust for London reported that in 2019/2020, 28% of Londoners were living in poverty after housing costs were taken into account. Additionally, Manchester, one of the major cities in the UK, had a poverty rate of 32% during the same period. These statistics show that major cities may experience higher poverty rates compared to national averages, and jobseekers should consider these factors when planning their move.

The Netherlands: A Stable Trend: The Netherlands has maintained a relatively stable poverty trend in recent years. According to Eurostat, in 2020, the at-risk-of-poverty rate in the Netherlands was 11.6%, which is lower than the European Union average of 17.2%. The Dutch government's social welfare system and strong focus on income equality have contributed to this stable trend. However, it's essential to recognize that poverty rates can vary regionally. For example, Rotterdam had a poverty rate of 15.2% in 2020, which is slightly higher than the national average.

Germany: A Mixed Bag: Germany's poverty trend has been a mix of progress and challenges. According to Eurostat, the at-risk-of-poverty rate in Germany was 15.9% in 2020, indicating that a significant portion of the population faces economic struggles. However, certain regions, like Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, have lower poverty rates compared to the national average. In cities like Berlin, the poverty rate was higher, at 19.8% in 2020. Jobseekers should consider these regional variations while exploring opportunities in Germany.

France: Coping with Poverty: France has been grappling with poverty, particularly in recent years. According to the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), in 2020, the poverty rate in France was 14.3%. The country's social safety nets and welfare programs aim to support vulnerable populations. Paris, as the capital and a major economic hub, may offer more job opportunities, but it also has higher living costs compared to other regions in France.

Italy: Striving for Improvement: Italy has faced economic challenges, contributing to poverty trends. Eurostat data indicates that in 2020, the at-risk-of-poverty rate in Italy was 19.9%. The Italian government has been working to implement social policies and reforms to address these issues. Milan, one of the major cities in Italy, is known for its economic and financial significance, but it also experiences higher living costs.

Spain: Struggling with Poverty: Spain has faced economic challenges, leading to a rising trend in poverty. Eurostat data shows that in 2020, the at-risk-of-poverty rate in Spain was 21.9%. The financial crisis and high unemployment rates have been major contributors to the country's poverty challenges. Barcelona and Madrid, as major cities, may offer more job opportunities, but they also have higher living costs, especially in central areas. In Barcelona, the poverty rate was 20.5%, while in Madrid, it was 18.3% in 2020.

Portugal: A Success Story: Portugal has been successful in combating poverty in recent years. According to Eurostat, the at-risk-of-poverty rate in Portugal decreased from 21.6% in 2015 to 17.2% in 2020. The country's commitment to social policies and economic reforms has been instrumental in improving the well-being of its citizens. Cities like Lisbon and Porto are popular choices for jobseekers due to their growing job markets and relatively lower living costs compared to other European capitals.

Job Market Overview: When considering a move to Europe, jobseekers should explore opportunities beyond the IT sector. Each of the mentioned countries offers a diverse job market with different sectors experiencing growth. The UK, being a financial hub, has opportunities in finance, healthcare, and creative industries. The Netherlands has a strong logistics sector, as well as thriving technology and renewable energy industries. Germany, with its manufacturing prowess, also offers opportunities in engineering, healthcare, and research. France boasts a robust aerospace industry, luxury goods, and tourism sector. Italy's job market revolves around fashion, automotive, and manufacturing, while Spain has a booming tourism industry, along with job prospects in renewable energy and healthcare. Portugal's growing economy is attracting investments in technology, tourism, and renewable energy.

Conclusion: For jobseekers aiming to build a new life in Europe, understanding social trends like poverty and the overall job market is crucial to making informed decisions about relocation. Poverty seems to be on the rise in all the greater economies like UK, France, Italy, and Spain have faced rising poverty levels, while the Netherlands and Portugal offer more stable or declining trends. Germany's situation is nuanced, warranting closer examination of specific regions. Moreover, it's essential to consider poverty trends in major cities, such as London, Manchester, Rotterdam, Berlin, Paris, Milan, Barcelona, and Madrid, as they may have varying costs of living and job opportunities. Exploring the diverse job markets in each country will help jobseekers find the best fit for their career aspirations and improve their chances of a successful and fulfilling life in Europe.

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Personal additions to help jobseekers navigate the economical landscape in Europe:

I believe that who ever is willing to work hard, continuously learn and has a flexible mindset to adapt can build a great life in Europe. Of course economical situation is getting tougher in Europe, but isn't it everywhere?

And when it gets tougher, I think that migrants coming from developing countries will still see things more positive than Europeans. The concept of "poverty" is relative. A more comprehensive / complex consideration about measuring poverty can be found here.

I think the bottom line is that in my opinion Europe overall still has a better focus on Work to Live than probably other continents (maybe except for Australia?). That's why European countries still dominate the top ranks in happiest countries in the world.

And why I think that Portugal is a good place for non European immigrants to start, the chart below also shows that in Portugal the risk of poverty of non EU migrants is less than many other EU countries.

Non EU migrants in Portugal have less risk to fall into poverty or social exclusion compared with many other EU countries.
People at risk of poverty or social exclusion across EU countries

Other videos about poverty in Europe

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