Eurofound publishes a report on the effects of COVID-19 pandemic in inequality in Europe
Eurofound has recently published a report on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on inequalities in Europe, developed in collaboration with PPMI researchers.
The COVID-19 pandemic had varying impacts on social groups, depending on existing disadvantages. It is widely believed that it triggered a rise in inequalities across different areas of life. The study conducted by PPMI aimed to test and measure the presence and scope of these changes. Using indicators from the EU’s Multidimensional Inequality Monitoring Framework (MIMF) and data from EU surveys, we explored the trends of inequality in the spheres of income, health, employment and education, before and during the pandemic. We also examined the main drivers of this change during the pandemic and explored the relationships between government policies in several domains and inequality.
The main findings show that:
- Although income inequality overall may not have increased during COVID-19, those seeking work and people with low and medium education levels were most likely to experience a drop in income.
- Inequality in access to health services by income increased: in 2020, the risk of having an unmet medical need for people in the lowest income quintile was 5.4 times higher than those in the top 20%.
- Working from home during the pandemic has likely created inequalities between low- and high-income groups, where temporary workers, young people and those in precarious employment emerged as more vulnerable to crises.
- Having adequate equipment to carry out online learning was more important than income for the learning outcomes, highlighting the importance of tackling the digital divide and access to technology for all over the long term.
- The ability to work from home created inequalities between low- and high-income groups, accentuating gender inequality in childcare and housework. In 2020, single mothers were most likely to reduce their working hours due to the closure of schools and childcare facilities – if women continue to work more hours of unpaid care than men, this may potentially widen the gender wage gap during recovery.