This is slightly less than the European average of 23.7 percent. Overall, the UK came 17th out of the 30 European countries surveyed — data for Ireland, Macedonia, Switzerland and Turkey was unavailable.
It marks the first time ever the UK has fallen behind Poland in the rankings since Poland joined the European Union in 2004; then, the proportion of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the UK was nearly half the figure in Poland (24.8 percent to 45.3 percent). However, Eurostat measures poverty relative to a nation's median income — the figures do not imply residents of the UK are poorer than those of Poland.
Out of the countries surveyed, Bulgaria scored highest in this regard, with 41.3 percent at risk. Iceland scored lowest, at 13 percent. Germany and France, the most comparable EU nations to the UK in terms of population and median income, scored 20 percent and 17.7 percent respectively.
A spokesperson for poverty charity Turn2Us told Sputnik that given the number of the people suffering in the UK presently, the findings weren't entirely surprising:
"UK residents of all socioeconomic backgrounds and ages can be pushed into difficult financial situations, almost overnight. Last year, 13.5 million individuals were in relative low income after housing costs. Any unexpected income shock, such as losing one's job or contracting a serious illness can impact one's ability to make ends meet at present. These figures make clear people can suffer in any country."
More children and young people are living in poverty in the UK — time to look in the mirror and change that trend https://t.co/xaLFUyw15k— FCSCT (@fcsct63) December 21, 2016
In a statement, Madeleine Sumption, director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford said the figures could well be a reflection of rising economic coniditions in Poland over the past decade.
"That said, there's still a reasonably large gap between standards of living in the UK and Poland. By 2014, for example, Eurostat estimated the average household's disposable income in the UK was 1.8 times higher than in Poland," Medeleine Sumption said.