In spite of the positive evolutions seen in Romania over the last 10 years in point of social inclusion of older people, the rate of elderly persons exposed to the risk or poverty or experiencing severe economic deprivation remains one of the highest in the European Union. The overall positive trends in Romania actually camouflage the substantial gaps existing among various categories of older people, depending on their employment status.
As a whole, the situation of retired people has seen the most significant improvement since 2007. However, one quarter of the total number of retired people receive pensions that are below the poverty threshold (as calculated by the National Institute of Statistics - NIS), and there are categories of retired persons threatened by extreme social vulnerability.
The rate of older wage earners exposed to the risk of poverty has sensibly dropped over the last 5 years and is now close to the European average. For non-wage-earners - self-employed and unpaid household workers -, the tendency was either of stagnation, or of growth in poverty. This stresses the fact that employment in Romania does not guarantee a decent life or exiting social exclusion.
The low quality of employment in Romania, for older persons, in particular, may be a possible reason for retirement. Most of the older people work in agriculture or are unpaid household workers and their economic situation is even poorer than that of retired persons.
Increasing the rate of employment of older people is not sufficient to improve their social and economic status, if the quality of employment is not improved by shifting the emphasis from unpaid household work or self-employment in agriculture to wage-earning jobs.