Saturday, March 2, 2024


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Not long ago we celebrated the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, with 130 million persons added to the existing list of 690 million already suffering from hunger. At the same time, the risk of poverty rate (or social exclusion rate) in Serbia in 2019 reached the appalling 23.2%, However, some optimism was brought by the fact that it was 1.1% less than a year before, according to the Republic Statistical Office.
In Serbia, a household risking poverty is considered to be the one living on 162 euros per month (if it is a single-member one), 291 euros (if it is composed of two adults and a child up to 14 years of age) or 340 euros (if it includes two adults and two children up to 14 years of age).
Exposed to poverty were mostly the youngsters up to 18 years of age (28.9%) and those between 18 and 24 (25.6%). Astonishingly, the rate was lowest among the elders above 65 – 21.1%.
Taking into consideration the categories of households, the mostly affected were those with two adults and three or more unemployed children (51.9%) and those with one adult only and one or more unemployed kids (41.6%).
There is also a big difference among various social groups. At risk are mostly the unemployed (47.5%), the self-employed (25.9%) and the pensioners (17.2%), while the employers (6.5%) are quite safe.
The picture becomes more realistic when one adds to these categories those 350.000 workers whose families live with the minimum wage and those 1.6 million (two thirds of our work force) who get wages which are under the average one. One has always to bear in mind that even the average wage in Serbia is far from being sufficient to secure decent life, especially if there are members of the family who are unemployed, which is often the case.
Government plans the introduction of the “social card” where all data concerning income and property should be gathered. That would enable the poor to be helped in a more transparent and just manner. The problem is that such idea has been cherished by all Serbian governments for 50 years and has never been realised.
The government’s one-way economic policy which tries to attract the foreign capital by promises of cheap labour and poor workers’ rights – fully inspired by the neoliberal model – is obviously not giving results.


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