Sustainable Development and the Problems of Rural Poverty and Social Exclusion in the EU Countries
Purpose: The article discusses the risk of poverty and social exclusion of rural residents in the context of sustainable rural development. Poverty is a social phenomenon that affects all socioeconomic groups; however, rural residents are impacted by this issue more than their urban counterparts. Rural areas are important because they constitute a large part of the European Union (80-95% of the area, depending on the member country) and almost a quarter of the population live there. The aim of the paper is to identify the level of poverty and social exclusion in rural areas of the EU and selected aspiring and EU-related countries. Design/Methodology/Approach: The empirical data in the article come from the EU-SILC (the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions). To realize the abovementioned goal, a multidimensional analysis of correspondence was used. Findings: The Central, Eastern and Southern European countries are at much higher risk of poverty or social exclusion than Western Europe. The study showed that one in four rural residents in the EU were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, and one in five were at risk of poverty. Practical Implications: Determining the proportion of people deprived of the possibility of satisfying their needs at a specific level is a voice in the discussion on further actions that should be undertaken to increase social cohesion and meet the expectations of contemporary sustainable development. Originality/value: The poverty is not a one-dimension phenomenon. It involves many aspects of the everyday life, as proven by the material deprivation rate (also severe material deprivation rate) and the risk of poverty or social exclusion. The authors emphasize that there is a need to modify this indicator.