Romania’s poor people are the poorest in the EU

Sorin Melenciuc 22/11/2018 | 17:02

Romania’s poor population is the poorest among the 28 European Union member states’ poor populations as its annual income are below EUR 1,000 per person, according to NGO project The Social Monitor.

“The 10 percent of Romania’s poorest working people earns less than EUR 974 per year. More specifically, almost one million people who work earn less than EUR 3 a day,” the study says.

The share in the total national income of the tenth of population with the lowest income is a measure of the inequality of income distribution – the smaller the share, the higher the inequality.

“Poor people are everywhere, but our poor people are significantly poorer than those in other countries: the poorest 10 percent of Romanians earn 10 times less than the poorest 10 percent of Europeans,” the study points out.

According to The Social Monitor, the poorest 10 percent of Romanians account for only 2 percent of the total income – the lowest proportion registered in the European Union.

According to the World Bank, Romania has the largest poor population in the European Union, over a quarter of its inhabitants living with less than EUR 5 per day.

“The limited integration of employment, education and social services prevents disadvantaged groups from escaping poverty. The provision of services is limited, especially in disadvantaged areas. Child poverty is high and rising,“ European Commission said in its latest country report on Romania.

According to EC data, the risks of poverty and social exclusion increased in 2016 in Romania, affecting 38.8 percent of the population and reversing a decreasing trend of several years.

The trend does not appear to improve, driven by increases in disposable income for all households except for the poorest 10 percent.

Worse, EC warns the poverty is actually rising in Romania and is often inherited.

“Poverty increased and income inequality remains high. (…) Unequal access to education, healthcare and other services, together with high inter-generational transmission of poverty, prevents children from disadvantaged areas or families from reaching their full potential. (…) Rural areas are particularly affected by inequality of opportunity due to poor infrastructure, insufficient employment opportunities and inexistent or poor quality public services,” the EC country report said.

The European Commission experts point out Romania is among the countries which don’t use efficiently social benefits to reduce poverty.

“The poverty reduction power of social transfers is still among the lowest in the EU and there is no objective mechanism to update social benefits,” EC report said.

Guaranteed minimum income (GMI), or minimum income, is a system of social welfare provision that guarantees that poor citizens or families have a basic income sufficient to live on.

But in every country with such a system, including Romania, the GMI receivers should meet certain conditions. In Romania, the GMI receivers have to fulfill community service, under mayor’s surveillance, and are generally located in poor rural areas.

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