Every Third Austrian Had to Suffer Income Losses in the Last Year

PeopleOther ♦ Published: October 14, 2022; 17:04 ♦ (Vindobona)

The COVID-19 pandemic and the many current crises have left a mark on the Austrian population. According to a recent survey, more than one third of Austrians suffered a loss of income within the last 12 months.

Every third Austrian had to accept income losses last year. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / Usien [Public Domain]

The number of cases of Covid-19 is rising steadily again in Austria and the government in Vienna is already starting to prepare for another harsh winter. New statistics have now been published indicating that more than a third of the Austrian population has suffered a reduction in income as a result of the pandemic.

In the survey on the social consequences of the crisis published by Statistics Austria, about 37% of respondents in Q2 2022 said they had suffered a loss of income in the twelve months prior to the survey.

"In Q2 2022, every fifth person reported increased income in the last twelve months, but the proportion of people reporting lower income was significantly higher at 37%. Loss of purchasing power due to massive inflation is now the most frequently cited reason for perceived income losses. In particular, rising housing and energy costs are worrying more and more people in Austria: "Every twelfth person now assumes that they will no longer be able to afford an adequately warm flat," explains Statistics Austria Director General Tobias Thomas.

The survey revealed that about 20% of the respondents had not felt any reduction in their household income in the last twelve months or that it had even increased. The same result was obtained in the last survey in the first quarter of 2022.

Changes in the quarterly comparison can, however, be seen in the share of the population that experienced a noticeable decrease in household income in the last twelve months. This affected 37% of the respondents. Various reasons were responsible for this, but mainly high inflation was mentioned.

Reduced working hours or lower wages, on the other hand, have become less important compared to the previous survey wave. 31% of respondents expect their household income to decrease in the coming twelve months. Compared to Q1 2022 (25 %), this represents a significant increase in expected income losses.

Of the approximately 2.3 million people with income losses, around 45% in Q2 2022 reported that they reduced spending on food, clothing and other goods and services in the last twelve months as a result of the loss of income. 30% had to resort to savings. Around 5% had to take out a loan from the bank or increase existing loans due to the reduced income and 5% had borrowed money privately.

37 % of the total population want to spend about the same amount of money on major purchases in the future, according to the current survey. This share has decreased by 8 percentage points compared to the previous quarter. Conversely, 44 % of respondents reported that they want to spend less money on major purchases in the future, such as furniture, cars or travel.

The proportion of people who plan to cut back on major spending has thus risen by 11 percentage points compared to the figure for Q1 2022. 19% plan to spend a little or a lot more in the coming year (a decrease of 3 percentage points compared to the previous quarter).

The survey also asked whether housing costs, which include ancillary housing costs such as electricity, gas and heating, were perceived as a heavy financial burden.

For 18% of respondents, this was the case in Q2 2022 - an increase of 5 percentage points compared to Q1 2022. Especially for people who were affected by unemployment, housing costs represented a heavy financial burden (45%). For almost all risk groups, the subjective housing cost burden has increased significantly over time.

In addition, around 8 % of respondents stated that it was difficult for them to keep their housing adequately warm, and this figure has also increased.

Statistics Austria