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15 July, 2024
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France 24: Choosing between heating and eating

Record poverty in France hits 1 million, single mothers most affected


A recently released report from the French charity Secours Catholique underscores the alarming rise in poverty numbers, with a record one million people seeking assistance in 2022, up from 780,000 the previous year. The inflation crisis, particularly impacting low-income households, is identified as a significant contributing factor to this surge.

According to France 24, the demographic impact has disproportionately affected single-adult households, with single mothers constituting 75% of those seeking aid. The share of women living in poverty rose to 57.5% in 2022, marking a notable increase from 52% at the turn of the century.

Several factors contribute to the escalating poverty rates, including a rise in break-ups, especially marital breakdowns where women bear the highest financial burden. Gender inequality in the job market, with women often employed in low-income part-time positions, and enduring economic disparities leading to smaller pensions for older women further exacerbate the issue.

The report reveals that the median monthly income for beneficiaries was a mere 538 euros in 2022, less than half the poverty threshold. This translates to a daily budget of 18 euros, or 19 dollars, covering all household needs, with inflation causing a 7.6% drop in income compared to the previous year.

In response to these challenges, Secours Catholique advocates for policy changes, recommending indexing minimum social benefits to the national minimum wage, expanding schemes supplementing earnings of low-income households, and challenging societal perceptions of "inactive" individuals.

The charity organization also sheds light on the plight of single mothers, emphasizing the physical and emotional strain they face while trying to provide for their children amidst financial difficulties. These findings align with broader trends highlighted by France's national statistics institute, INSEE, which reported an additional half a million people falling below the poverty threshold in 2021 due to the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the government's reduction of emergency spending programs. The inflation crisis is anticipated to worsen these figures for 2022.

[Information sourced from France 24 and AFP]

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