The Genworth Index of consumer financial vulnerability

Authors: Andrea Finney, David Hayes
Funded by: Genworth Financial
Published by: Genworth Financial
Publication date: 2008-current

There is widespread concern about the consequences of recent high levels of borrowing and the crisis in credit markets; the key to minimising their effects lies in having the ability to identify which households are most vulnerable to financial difficulties. Yet there is a dearth of data enabling us to assess either how many or which types of people are vulnerable to worsening financial situations.

With this in mind Genworth Financial commissioned a project, which has been developed in partnership with the European Credit Research Institute and PFRC, to develop an index of consumer financial vulnerability.

First edition (2007)

The first edition of the Genworth Index presents the share of survey respondents in a given country who feel financially vulnerable relative to the share who feel financially secure. This was calculated using comparative data from ten European countries.

Second edition (2008)

The second edition of the Genworth Index was calculated from responses to questions included on an Ipsos MORI consumer omnibus survey in September 2008. It covered all countries that were previously surveyed in summer 2007 for the baseline: Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. In 2008, it additionally included Finland and Poland for the first time. The second reading of the index, published in November 2008, shows how recent economic changes have clearly had a detrimental impact on consumers.

Third edition (2009)

The third edition of the Genworth Index reveals a promising, if small, fall in levels of consumer financial vulnerability in Europe since 2008. In 2009, Greece and Turkey have been additionally included, widening the coverage of the Index to a total of 14 countries across Europe. The Index has been also extended beyond Europe for the first time in this edition to the USA.

Watch the video 'Experts Give Perspectives on the third edition of the Genworth Index'.

Fourth edition (2010)

The Index in 2010 has tracked consumer financial vulnerability in 14 countries in Europe, three in North America and Australia in a survey of nearly 14,000 households. With an average Index score of 19 points across all 18 countries the balance remains tipped slightly towards relative consumer financial vulnerability rather than security. No change in the average Index score for the 14 European countries since 2009 conceals considerable change for some individual countries.

View a map of country index scores from 2007-2010

Fifth edition (2013)

This edition of the Index tracks consumer financial security and vulnerability in 14 countries in Europe, five in Latin America, as well as China, in a survey of over 13,000 households. For the first time, this edition of the Index aims to explain what drives consumers’ feelings of financial security and vulnerability by asking households to select their top three concerns for the future financial security of their household, e.g. income from work, job security, the wider economy, levels of savings, consumer borrowing, social security available etc.

The Genworth Index (vol. 1): Measuring consumer financial vulnerability in 10 European markets (PDF, 343kB)
The Genworth Index (vol. 2): Measuring consumer financial vulnerability in 12 European markets (PDF, 293kB)
The Genworth Index (vol. 3): Measuring consumer financial vulnerability and security in 15 countries (PDF, 2,909kB)
The Genworth Index (vol. 4): Measuring consumer financial vulnerability and security in 18 countries (PDF, 2,533kB)
The Genworth Index (vol. 5): Measuring consumers financial vulnerability and security (PDF, 2,546kB)

Full copies of the accompanying reports, 'Consumer Financial Vulnerability: Technical Report' and 'European Trends in Consumer Financial Vulnerability', are also available on request or by visiting

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