Not easy to lift people above the poverty line
One in ten Faroese citizens lived below the poverty line in 2016, according to the latest figures from Statistics Faroe Islands.
A main objective of the sitting government is to reduce the number of people living below the poverty line. A number of measures have been introduced, including family allowances and tax breaks for low-income earners.
These initiatives have not, however, done much to solve the problem as the percentage of citizens living below the poverty mark only decreased from 10.6 percent in 2015 to 10.1 percent 2016.
Eyðgunn Samuelsen, the Minister of Social Affairs, admits that lifting people above the poverty line has proved more difficult than initially thought.
“The rather disappointing reduction in the number of citizens living below the poverty line does, however, prove the importance of bringing this issue on the agenda,” she says.
“It is not easy to say whether our initiatives have been successful because there are many other societal factors involved. Migration, for instance, influences price levels, which, in turn, causes the poverty line to move up or down.”
The poverty line changes in line with economic shifts in society. The limit is based on a median income, i.e. one half of the citizens have an income higher than the median income, while the other half has an income lower than the median.
Citizens whose net income is less than 60 percent of the median income are deemed to be living below the poverty line.
When the economy is strong the median income can increase quickly, and then the poverty line goes up accordingly.
Samuelsen believes that this may not be the ideal way to measure poverty.
See also: Nearly 5000 below poverty line 2016
Translated by prosa.fo