Recently released figures for 2010 show that 115 million Europeans, or 23 per cent of the EU population, live in households with less than the poverty threshold disposable income, in households where there is severe material deprivation (such as a lack of heating), or where the adults worked less than 20 per cent of their total work potential.
While 13 of the 25 member-states that provided information recorded an increase in the numbers affected when compared with 2009, Spain (23.4 per cent to 25.5 per cent) and Lithuania (29.5 per cent to 33.4 per cent) recorded the greatest leap from one year to the next.
The figures for deprivation were even higher among those under the age of seventeen, with 27 per cent of young people throughout the EU falling below the threshold.
In all, twenty countries recorded a higher rate of poverty and risk of social exclusion among young people than among the general population.
The poverty statistics come on top of unemployment statistics showing a record unemployment rate in the EU, with some 23 million people out of work.