Latvian regulatory enactments define the notion of "needy person" [1] and "person with low income" [2] while the term "poverty" is not defined in Latvian legislation therefore when discussing issues of poverty, social exclusion and social inclusion definitions of European Commission are applied.

According to criteria set forth by the European Commission poor persons are such persons whose income and resources (economic, social and cultural) are so limited that their living standard is lower than commonly accepted in public and their basic rights are denied or restricted. Therefore poverty mainly includes the lack of material resources due to which a person cannot ensure the basic needs (food, housing, health, education, culture etc.).

Social exclusion is wider term than ''poverty'' - it is an inability of individuals or group of individuals to align with society due to poverty, insufficient education, unemployment, discrimination or other circumstances. It means that socially excluded person cannot access services and goods, cannot exercise his/her rights and use opportunities since there are restrictive obstacles, for instance, inaccessible environment, social prejudice, emotional and physical violence, etc.

Groups of the population which are mostly subjected to the risk of social exclusion may experience that the possibilities to gain sufficient income, to receive various services and goods vital for full-fledged functioning in society are denied or made difficult.

Social inclusion is a process the aim of which is to ensure opportunities, services and resources necessary for full-fledged participation in the economic, social and cultural life of the society to the persons subjected to the poverty and risk of social exclusion by improving their living standard and welfare as well as possibility of more intense involvement in decision making and access to person's basic rights.

Sections of population subjected to the risk of poverty and social exclusion in Latvia are as follows:

  • persons in the retirement age (especially women and pensioners living alone); 
  • persons in pre-retirement age; 
  • large families and single parent families; 
  • children; 
  • persons with disabilities and persons with functional impairments; 
  • unemployed persons (especially long-term unemployed persons) 
  • homeless persons;
  • Roma people;
  •  imprisoned persons and persons released  from imprisonment;
  •  victims of human trafficking; 
  • persons addicted to psychoactive substances (alcohol, drugs, toxic or other intoxicating substances);
  • persons with knowledge and skills that are insufficient, low or inadequate for the labour market; 
  • needy persons.

At-risk-of-poverty threshold and at-risk-of-poverty ratio are calculated according to the methodology elaborated by the Eurostat. In order to estimate and compare the situation regarding the social inclusion in EU member states monetary and income inequality ratios are applied [3] which are calculated by the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia (hereinafter referred to as CSB).

[1]Regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers No. 299, adopted on 30 March 2010, "Regulations Regarding the Recognition of a Family or Person Living Separately as Needy".

[2] Section 6 of the Article 14 of the Law on On Assistance In Solving Apartment Matters.

[3] Information of the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia - „Monetary poverty and income inequality indicators (EU-SILC survey)".

European Years

2012 - the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations

The year of 2012 is declared as the European Year of Active Aging and Solidarity of Generations on the basis of Decision Nr. 940/2011 / EK of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 September 2011. Facing a rapidly ageing population and decreasing birth rate the European Union attests an importance of necessary to improve employment opportunities and working conditions for older workers, to improve their inclusion in society and to encourage healthy ageing.

The aim and main principles of the European Year 2012 are to raise public awareness of the importance of participation of older population in society and the economy, stimulate discussion, exchange of information and mutual learning between participating countries of the European Union in order to promote good practice and cooperation, and to offer a framework for commitment and concrete action to develop activities and innovative solutions, but also to set new long-term policy objectives, and combat age discrimination, particularly with regard to employability.

2010 - the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion

The year of 2010 was announced in European Union as the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion on the basis of the Decision No. 1098/2008/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2008 on the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion (year of 2010).

The objective and key principles of European Year 2010 is the recognition of the basic rights of persons living in poverty, shared responsibility of state establishments and civic society in order to challenge stereotypes and collective perceptions of poverty, to achieve larger social cohesion and repeatedly expressed readiness to collectively combat poverty.


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