The lowest at-risk-of-poverty rate was recorded in Czech Republic, of only 4%.

However, Romania recorded in 2008 the highest poverty risk rate for those aged up to 17 years of 33% compared to an average of 20% in European Union and the second highest poverty risk rate of population.

According to the official figures from the European statistics office, 50% Romanians were affected by material deprivation. The highest at-risk-of-poverty rates – a measure of persons near poverty threshold - in 2008 were found in Latvia (26%), Romania (23%), Bulgaria (21%), Greece, Spain and Lithuania (all 20%).

The lowest poverty rates were found in the Czech Republic (9%), the Netherlands and Slovakia (both 11%), Denmark, Hungary, Austria, Slovenia and Sweden (all 12%).

Since 2005, the at-risk-of-poverty rate in the European Union has been nearly stable, varying between 16% and 17%. The at-risk-of-poverty rate is a relative measure of poverty, and that the poverty threshold varies greatly between Member States.

In 20 of the 27 Member States, child at-risk-of-poverty rates were higher than for the total population. In 2008, the at-risk-of-poverty rate for those aged up to 17 years was 20% in the European Union. The highest rates were recorded in Romania (33%), Bulgaria (26%), Italy and Latvia (both 25%), and the lowest in Denmark (9%), Slovenia and Finland (both 12%).

Elderly people also face a higher risk of poverty than the total population. In 2008, the at-risk-of-poverty rate for those aged 65 years and over was 19% in the European Union. The highest rates were observed in Latvia (51%), Cyprus (49%), Estonia (39%) and Bulgaria (34%), and the lowest in Hungary (4%), Luxembourg (5%) and the Czech Republic (7%).

Over half of Romanian population didn’t afford elementary items in 2008. Romanians couldn’t afford a one-week annual holiday away from home, to make their monthly payments, a meal with meat every second day, to keep their home adequately warm, to own a washing machine, colour TV, telephone or a personal car.

The lowest material deprivation rates were observed in Luxembourg – 4%, Netherlands and Sweden (both 5%).

In Romania, over three quarters of the population (76%) couldn’t afford a one-week annual holiday away from home, 25% couldn’t afford to keep their home adequately warm, almost half didn’t have a car, and 19% couldn’t afford a meal with meat or vegetarian equivalent every second day.