Thursday, January 22, 2009

A quarter of Bulgarians live on the edge of poverty

Bulgaria has one of the highest inflation rates in the European Union. The rising prices without any rising wages push more and more Bulgarians into poverty. For example, the prices of food stuffs in the country has gone up 7.6 percent, while rent and household has gone up 20 percent.

More facts and figures are presented in this story from Sofia Echo.

In 2008, the cost of life in Bulgaria has gone up by 14 per cent, which is the highest rise registered over the past eight years, Sega daily reported on January 22 2009 citing data provided by the Institute for Trade Union and Social Research (ITUSR).

One four-member household needs 1895 leva a month to cover basic expenses for food, utilities, clothing, education and short holidays. This would roughly make 474 leva a person. Sega daily cited national statistics indicating that only 15.2 per cent of Bulgarian families live with more than 450 a person monthly allowance.

To physically survive, one person needs 185 leva, according to ITUSR. National Statistical Institute released data showing that by November 2008, 22 per cent of Bulgarian households live below that minimum.

“At the beginning of 2008, food prices increased as a direct result from the tendencies on the food exchange market, later the gas prices increased,” Lyuben Tomev from ITUSR said as quoted by Sega daily. Although Tomev said he expected prices to rise slower, “the inflation would remain way above the EU average."

Eurostat research, cited by the newspaper, showed that in 2008, inflation rate in Bulgaria was 12 per cent, which has placed the country second in the category of intensive cost of life increased. First was Latvia with annual inflation rate of 15.3 per cent. In comparison, the average inflation rate in the EU is 3.7 per cent.

Another factor affecting the living standard in Bulgaria is the salary. The country occupies the bottom with minimal wage floor of 112 euro (218 leva). Usual expenses for a child vary from 261 leva to 445 leva.

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