4.1 General context
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Main challenges to social inclusion
There are different challenges when it comes to social inclusion on young people in Cyprus. According to the Poverty and Social Exclusion Survey conducted by the Statistical Service in 2021 in Cyprus, the risk-of-poverty is 17,3% (compared to 21.3% in 2020), while the risk-of-poverty rate for children 0-17 years old is 15,8. Also, it has to be underlined the fact that women are more likely (18.7%) to be in a situation of poverty and social exclusion compared to men (15.8%). The percentage of the population living in households with very low work intensity is in total 5.6%. At the same time, the percentage of population which cannot afford to pay at least 4 out of the 9 material deprivation items (having thus severe material and social deprivation) is 2.6%. In addition, the latest published data (dated October 2022) by the Ministry of Finance indicates that in 2021 there are 2.000 less individuals with income above the risk-of-poverty threshold compared to 2020.
Moreover, the Demographic Statistics of the Statistical Service counts that in 2014, 9.212 immigrants arrived to Cyprus, 15.183 immigrants in 2015, 17.391 in 2016, 21.306 in 2017, 23.442 in 2018 and 26.710 in 2019. Also, it is important to state that according to the 2021 Population Census the population in the Republic of Cyprus is 918.000, following an increase of 9,2% compared to the one in 2011 (Statistical Service Cyprus).
The number of asylum applications in 2019 was 12,311, 13,997 in 2020 and 16,277 in 2021 according to the Cyprus Refugee Statistics. The report “Overview of statistical practice” published by the Cyprus Refugee Council indicated that in 2021 the country received 13,773 application for asylum. In addition to that, according to the Education and Training Monitor 2022 – Cyprus Report, Cyprus has one of the EU’s highest asylum application-to-inhabitant ration, integrating asylum seekers into the education system.
Lastly, according to the UNHCR report regarding “The Integration of Refugees in Cyprus: Social Inclusion and Discrimination”, “discrimination is inextricably linked to lack of acceptance of diversity, which was acknowledged as a major obstacle to social inclusion…in incidents occurred at work and school”.
There is no national definition of social inclusion. However, the main concepts associated to social inclusion, as stated in the Strategy of Social Policy 2022-2027 ("Στρατηγική για την Κοινωνική Πολιτική 2022-2027") prepared by the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance can be summarized to the following areas: poverty indicators or social exclusion indicators, inclusion for persons with disabilities, support programmes for children, women and families, creation of new jobs, social cohesion and social welfare.