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1 of 6 in EU face the threat of falling into poverty: study

VIENNA--About 16 percent of the people in the EU are threatened by poverty, based on 2010 figures that show Latvians most at risk and Czechs the least, according to an Austrian study released Monday.

The study, by the Society for Political Consulting and Political Development, said that 80.7 million people within the 27-nation European Union were at risk of poverty. About 500 million people live in the bloc.

The study said that 21.3 percent of Latvians were threatened by poverty, defined as living on household incomes that are less than 60 percent of the national average. Romania, Bulgaria and Spain also had more than 20 percent of residents in that category, along with 20 percent of Greeks and Lithuanians.

It said that 15.6 percent were at threat in Germany, Europe's economic powerhouse. That was not only up from 10 percent in 2000, but also significantly more than in the Czech Republic at 9 percent, and economically struggling Hungary at 12.3 percent, according to the study. It attributed the two nations' good showing to significantly more spending on social programs and services that lower-income earners typically depend on than some of the more prosperous Western European nations.

France came in at 13.5 percent and Britain at 17.1 percent.

The Dutch, at 10.3 percent, were the second-least threatened after the Czechs.

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