Single mothers, foreigners… eight things to remember about poverty in France in 2022

During 2021, around 3,500 Secours Catholique-Caritas France teams met 938,600 people. As it does every year, the organization compiles statistical sheets from the admissions files and then compiles an assessment of the state of poverty in France.

Two years after Covid, Secours Catholique’s 2022 report looked at household budgets during the health crisis and described the socio-demographic characteristics, circumstances and resources of those seeking support.

Listening first

In 2021, Secours Catholique supported 491,200 adults and 447,400 children. The first request of households is to confide and share their experiences, with a request for listening and support in 60% of cases.

Food aid, the first application in 2011, comes before help with paying rent and bills and clothing. The house may require several.

It should be noted that between 2011 and 2021, requests for assistance for administrative procedures doubled from 5.5% to 10.1%.

Single mothers and single men

In the diversity of household constitutions, single mothers are the most common type. They make up 25% of the households encountered, which is three times more than their representation in the general population.

This is what Secours Catholique means great weakness single mothers with children.

Single men are the second most common type, accounting for 22.4% of households.

Foreigners were overrepresented

Foreigners make up 7.7% of the population living in France, but 50% of households are served by Secours Catholique. This share has been on the rise for 10 years, reflecting the growing threat.

Foreign adults come mainly from sub-Saharan Africa (36%), Europe (26%) and the Maghreb (22%).

Secours Catholique notes that the legal status of foreigners encountered is increasingly precarious: 67% have an unstable status in 2021, compared to 58% in 2016.

At the same time, their existence has increased and the acquisition of French has developed (80% in 2021, 72% in 2016 are learning the language).

Secours Catholique descends here a direct witness to the often absurd and inhumane consequences of the tightening of state policy against foreigners.

Average living standard of € 548 per month

In France in 2020, according to INSEE, the average standard of living was €1,887 (half of the French have more, the other half have less). In state statistics, people whose living standards are below 60% of the average living standards, i.e. people whose living standards are below 1,132 euros, are considered poor, and those whose living standards do not reach 40% of the average income are considered extremely poor. 755 €.
The average living wage for people admitted by Secours Catholique was €548 in 2021.

93% of the people interviewed are below the poverty line and 69% are below the extreme poverty line.

Distribution of households by type (with children, without children, etc.) according to different levels of poverty:

In total, 22% of households received by Secours Catholique in 2021 had no financial resources.

€5 per day to live

Living allowance is the amount of money a family is left with after deducting the so-called limited expenses from income. Limited expenses are rent, bills, loans; all fees automatically applied each month.

Limited costs ultimately account for an average of 69% of disposable income:

Therefore, the money left for living is left for other expenses: food, clothing, clothing, furniture, entertainment…

According to the study of their budgets, the average household living allowance received in 2021 has decreased from 5 euros per day and per person to 0.50 euros to 1 euro compared to the budget before the health crisis. Secours Catholique estimates that at least €7 per day per person is needed for food…

Secours Catholique observes that housing costs absorb more than half of the resources accumulated by households encountered.

The third party will be entitled to, but not required to, RSA

This is called not applying: people would be entitled to social benefits, but don’t ask for them because they don’t know or the procedure is too complicated.

According to a Secours Catholique report, the non-use rate of RSA (active solidarity income) is 30% for all dating people. Among foreign citizens, this rate rises to 49%.

60% of people are inactive

People met by Secours Catholique in 2021 are inactive for 60% of them. This means that they are neither in work, nor in training, nor unemployed. This is a sharp increase in share, 16 points more than in 2011.

Here is the distribution of activity/inactivity statuses for the people we met compared to all of France:

Of the 16% employed, three-quarters are in indefinite employment with employment contracts other than a full-time permanent contract.

Single women forgotten during the health crisis

Catholic Relief Services, which has carefully examined the impact of Covid-19 on people in vulnerable situations, has found that single women are most affected by the effects of the health crisis.

According to the report, the proportion of single mothers and couples with children remained stable between 2020 and 2022, a sign that social and family policies targeting this population, identified as fragile, are acting as a safety net.
Unmarried women, who were less likely to be targeted by emergency care, were more likely to seek Secours Catholique during and after a health crisis. They are more often in precarious jobs that have been eliminated during the crisis, reducing already low incomes.

The proportion of unmarried men remained stable, but Secours Catholique noted that this population is aging. More broadly, there has been an increase in the proportion of over 50s.

Secours Catholique notes that emergency assistance has been beneficial for households in distress and demonstrates thatproactive policies can eliminate extreme poverty in our country. The association also notes that this is not currently an option.

Also read: SERVICE. Against poverty, France can do better

So single mothers were well helped out of the health crisis, but made poorer in the process. They saw average monthly living standards fall from €730 before the crisis to €710 two years later.

And for all households in a precarious situation, inflation can add to the burden of limited spending on already fragile budgets.

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