Poverty in Europe: the Current Situation 16.4 % of the European population is poor. According to country, age, gender or origin, the poverty rates are varying considerably. The situation in 2010 16.4 % of the population, 80 million people, live below the poverty threshold in the European Union, if fixing the threshold at 60 % of national median income, on the basis of 2010 data (see box). The Czech Republic (9 % of the population), the Netherlands (10 %), Austria and Hungary (12 %) are the countries where poverty is lowest. With a rate of 13.5% the poverty rate of France is also among the lowest in Europe, just after the Nordic countries (around 13 %). The highest rates, superior to 20 %, are observed in eastern Europe, in Romania and Bulgaria. Spain and Greece have similar poverty levels of about 20 %: these two countries are seriously affected by the economic crisis and have seen their unemployment rate rise considerably, especially among the youngest. Caution must however be paid, since the poverty thresholds could differ from country to country (see below). Considering the thresholds at 40 and 50 % of national median income, the hierarchies and disparities between the countries are somewhat overthrown. At the 40 % -threshold, the poverty rate of Denmark corresponds to the one of the United Kingdom (5.5 %): thus, in proportion, a similar great poverty exists in both countries. This means that the disparity between the two countries is most apparent, not at the bottom of the poverty scale, but when considering poor families in general. Spain shows the highest rates in Europe (9.8 %), while the French rate is identical to the rate in Sweden (3.7 %), one of the lowest on the continent. At the threshold of 50 %, Spain is still one of the countries, together with Bulgaria and Romania, where poverty remains highest (around 15 %). The poverty rate of the United Kingdom (9.8 %) comes up to the European average (10 %), while the French rate (7.4 %) is a little above the Swedish one (7 %). The lowest level can be observed in the Netherlands (4.9 %), before the Czech Republic (5.2 %) and Finland (5.5 %). Read more: Inequality watch Thought a comparison of countries might be good.