Over 50% of Belarusians on poverty line
13:59, — Economics
About 55% of Belarusian families are estimated by independent experts to live on the verge of poverty today.
“Though Belarus positions itself as a 'socially oriented state', the income per household member is 2.8fold less than in Russia. It is even less than in Kazakhstan. In Belarus a family is considered to be poor, when income per household member is less than 840,000 rubles. But is it possible to live on this sum? What concerns the growth of the poor in the country, the number of poor people increased a little since the beginning of 2011. The growth was 4% and reached 7-8%,” Leanid Zlotnikau said in an interview with Radio Svaboda.
According to him, an essential characteristic of the poverty level is the sum spent by family on food:
“In 2011, Belarusian families spent about 40% of their income on food, but spending on food increased by approximately 4% this year. It means Belarusian families spend almost half of their earnings on food. It should be taken into account that, in accordance with official statistical data, Belarusians save on food preferring to buy cheaper products of lower quality. For example, they buy sausages instead of meat. To compare, people in the EU spend not more than 15-20% of their income on food.”
Zlotnikau says that the insignificant economic inequality in Belarusian society is noticed only by the official statistics: “If we look at wage statistics, we can see that 55% of population earn less than 3 million rubles a month. The country's average salary, which was 4,085,000 rubles in August, was reached due to the minority of people who earn far more. So, 55% are in fact on the brink of poverty and may find themselves below the poverty line if new crisis occurs,” the economist thinks.
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