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What you must earn to live “decently"

Research reveals levels of income needed for someone to enjoy a reasonable standard of living in France

7 March 2015

A SINGLE person needs at least €1,424 a month to live “decently” in France, a study has revealed.

Research published yesterday by l'Observatoire National de la Pauvreté et de l'Exclusion Sociale (OPNES) revealed that only 5% of single-parent families enjoy a “decent minimum income”, while childless couples tend to be better off.

The three-year study assessed the "reference budgets" needed for "effective participation in social life" for households in medium-sized cities of Tours and Dijon.

It based its findings on families earning enough money to allow them to live in a home large enough for their needs including separate bedrooms for different-gender children over the age of six, run a used car, go on holiday, and take part in sports or cultural events, as well as feed and clothe themselves.

Researchers put the minimum “decent living” budget for a single person living in social housing at €1,424, while the same person living in a privately owned property would need €1,571 a month.

A couple with two children living in social housing would need €3,284 a month, the study says, compared to €3,515 for the same family living in a privately owned property.

Meanwhile, a single parent with two children would need €2,599 in social housing and €2,830 in privately owned property; for retired couples the figures are €2,187 and €2,437; and for childless couples €1,985 and €2,133.

It discovered that 55% of single parent families live below the poverty line, while another 40% have to budget carefully or make certain sacrifices and therefore do not have the means to live “decently”.

In comparison, only 5% of childless couples live below the poverty line, while 7% have to give up some goods and services considered necessary to enjoy a decent standard of living.

Twelve percent of couples with two children are in poverty, and 24% face budget restraints, the study found; while 14% of single pensioners are poor and 45% must be careful with their money.

Photo: Images Money

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