Thirty per cent of pensioners in Bulgaria were at risk of poverty, European Union statistics agency Eurostat said on February 7, citing figures for 2018.
This was the fourth-highest rate in the EU.
In 2018, the proportion of pensioners aged over 65 at risk of poverty in the EU was 15 per cent, slightly above the figure of 14 per cent in 2017, yet below the risk of poverty of working age population (16 to 64 years) at almost 17 per cent.
The at-risk-of-poverty rate for pensioners has been rising gradually since 2013, when it was 13 per cent, bouncing back in 2018 well above the level experienced in 2010 (14 per cent).
In most EU countries, the proportion of pensioners aged over 65 who are deemed to be at risk of poverty was between 10 per cent and 30 per cent.
The four countries with an at-risk-of-poverty rate above 30 per cent in 2018 were Estonia (54 per cent), Latvia (50 per cent), Lithuania (41 per cent) and Bulgaria (30 per cent).
In contrast, the lowest rates in 2018 were recorded in Slovakia (six per cent), France (eight per cent), Greece (nine per cent), Denmark, Luxembourg and Hungary (all 10 per cent).
Across the EU as a whole between 2010 and 2018, the proportion of female pensioners aged over 65 who were at risk of poverty was about three to four percentage points (pp) higher than the rate for male pensioners, Eurostat said.
In 2018, the at-risk-of-poverty rate of female pensioners was more than 10 pp higher than the rate of male pensioners in six EU EU countries: Lithuania (18 pp), Estonia (17 pp), Bulgaria (15 pp), Czech Republic (13 pp), Latvia and Romania (both 11 pp).
In contrast, three countries had at-risk-of-poverty rates which were higher for male pensioners than for female pensioners: Spain and Malta (both 3 pp) and Italy (1 pp), Eurostat said.