Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Cyprus
Cyprus, a Mediterranean island with a population of 1.2 million, has endured several different occupations by major powers since the birth of the civilization. Beginning with the Assyrian, Egyptian, Persian and Roman Empires, Cyprus was then taken by the French Venetians and then the Ottoman Empire (from 1571 to 1878). The United Kingdom was the last imperial body to control Cyprus, from which Cyprus gained independence in 1960. In the article below, the top 10 facts about living conditions will be presented and will try to show how the people in this country live and what impacts their lives.

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Cyprus

  1. Since 1974, Cyprus has been politically and ethnically divided into two territories- Northern and Southern Cyprus. Northern Cyprus is a de facto state of Turkey and populated primarily by Turkish Cypriots, while Southern Cyprus governs itself and is populated primarily by Grecian Cypriots. While Turkey recognizes Northern Cyprus as a Turkish territory, the rest of the world considers Northern Cyprus a part of the Republic of Cyprus, along with Southern Cyprus. Both Greek and Turkey are official languages in Cyprus. This division mostly impacts people in the country and reunification talks have been held in order to improve the situation.
  2. Cyprus joined the European Union (EU) in 2004 and has benefited politically and economically since its admission. Living conditions in Cyprus improved as the nation gained access to European treaties and European Union law to resolve internal unrest, and also the increased security that comes with EU membership. Today, more than half of Cyprus’ trade happens within the EU, expanding its markets farther and with more ease than that would be possible without the membership status.
  3. Cyprus has one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union despite the economic crisis of 2013. The nation’s economy grew 3.9 percent in 2017 and is predicted to continue growing in 2019 in the wake of expanding employment and a flourishing tourism industry.
  4. Poverty in Cyprus is notoriously hard to track, but it is presumed that the number of people at risk of poverty has been steadily decreasing over the last few years, starting from 28.9 percent in 2015, 27.6 percent in 2016 and to 25.2 percent in 2017. Improvement in poverty rates is largely due to continued economic growth, coupled with a rise in income in the nation.
  5. Along with a reduction in poverty, unemployment rates continue to fall in Cyprus. From about 15 percent in 2015, the unemployment rate fell to 13 percent in 2016 and further to 11 percent in 2017. In 2018, the unemployment rate fell to 8.2 percent, among the lowest in the EU.
  6. Global Finance Magazine ranked Cyprus 32nd in its 2019 list of the world’s safest countries. This ranks the country higher than the United Kingdom (38th), Japan (43rd) and the United States (65th).
  7. Education completion rates in Cyprus have been maintained at high rates. School completion rates hover between 97 and 98 percent, except for the year Cyprus divided in 1974 when the education completion rate was 64 percent. The political and social unease of this time is to blame for this dip in education completion rates, as the number went right back up the following year.
  8. Matching its high education completion rates, Cyprus’ literacy rate sits at around 99 percent, ranking the country among the best in the world regarding this issue.
  9. The life expectancy in Cyprus is around 80.5 years, which is comparable to neighboring countries Malta (81.8 years) and Greece (81.04 years). This rate is higher than the one in the United States (78.69 years).
  10. Health care in Cyprus is comparable to health systems in other developed nations. Split into public and private sectors, health care in Cyprus is generally free or very inexpensive for citizens and persons from EU nations. Emergency treatment is free for citizens, and EU nationals are eligible for free health insurance at public hospitals, which are located in all major cities.

While living conditions in Cyprus are already good, life in the nation could be improved by the reunification of the North and South. By some estimates, reunification could improve Cyprus’ GDP by as much as $5.7 billion in only five years, as Southern Cyprus would be less vulnerable to the economic problems of Greece and also gain access to Turkish markets. If the two territories gain free access to each other, the economy will benefit as a whole, improving further the Cypriotic economy and living conditions in Cyprus as a whole.

– Jillian Baxter
Photo: Flickr

top 10 facts about poverty in Cyprus
The small, Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus has undergone development and overall economic growth despite conflicts within the country. Although the economy has grown, the financial situation in Cyprus has fluctuated in recent years, causing more issues of poverty. In order to gain a better understanding of poverty and how it’s changing in Cyprus, below are the top 10 facts about poverty in this country.

Top 10 Facts about Poverty in Cyprus

  1. Cyprus’s economy has grown overall but fluctuated since the development of the service sector, offering citizens job opportunities to increase the standard of living. In 1980, Cyprus had a GDP of $2.15 billion. As of 2017, the country’s economy has risen to an estimated $21.65 billion. Cyprus has undergone a decrease since 2008 in its GDP, worsened by the 2012-13 financial crisis in the country, but has begun increasing since then.
  2. Although GDP has certainly increased in recent years, the rate of economic growth in Cyprus has fluctuated. In some years since faster development, Cyprus experienced as much as a 2 percent decrease in GDP due to political instability and global economic decline. Most recently, however, Cyprus maintains around 2 percent economic growth rate.
  3. The service industry is Cyprus’s largest economic sector, with specialized jobs and tourism services continuing to increase. This industry accounts for a significant majority of the GDP in Cyprus at an estimated 86.8 percent, while industry and agriculture comprise 11.2 percent and 2.3 percent of the GDP, respectively.
  4. The unemployment rate in Cyprus is relatively high due to financial and political issues in the country, with an estimated 11.8 percent unemployment rate in 2017. While economic opportunity has been improved for the citizens, this number has decreased since the 2012-13 crisis, as the unemployment rate in 2016 was 13 percent.
  5. Poverty rates in Cyprus have also steadily dropped as the economy of the country grows, although poverty in North (Turkish) Cyprus is somewhat higher than South (Greek) Cyprus. Despite decreased poverty rates and low child poverty rates throughout the country, the risk of falling in poverty increased after the financial crisis and is at 27.7 percent.
  6. Life expectancy in Cyprus raised significantly catalyzed by rapid development throughout the country. In 1960, the average lifetime of people in the country was 69.6 years and has increased to 80.5 years by 2016.
  7. School enrollment and persistence to finish school in Cyprus has risen and maintained high levels since increased development. In 1974, only 64.63 percent of primary school students completed their full studies, while this number has increased to 97.61 percent in 2016. This increase in academic persistence is likely attributed to more opportunity for skilled labor and decreased levels in poverty.
  8. Along with high primary school enrollment in Cyprus, the adult literacy rate in the country is quite high, with an overall 98.68 percent literacy rate. In young adults ages 15-24, the literacy rate is even higher at 99.82 percent, and the male and female literacy rates are relatively equal with 99.80 percent and 99.84 percent, respectively.
  9. The income per capita between the North and South is very different due to political and financial ties between the allies of both regions. South Cyprus had a higher per capita income of around $24,976 in 2017, while North Cyprus only had a per capita income of around $15,109 in the same year.
  10. Economy differences between North and South Cyprus are largely tied to Turkey and the European Union’s economic situations. The Eurozone crisis largely affected Southern Cyprus, while Turkish financial difficulties prevented economic growth in Northern Cyprus. Due to this starkly contrasted economic and political situation, reunification between the two sides would be the most stable and financially beneficial for both sides.

These top 10 facts about poverty in Cyprus underscore the government’s commitment to improving the economy and offering more opportunities for its people. A strong focus on the service and skilled industry, along with industrial and agricultural growth, has allowed the country to improve its already high standard of living. Although the economy has developed significantly, poverty for some people still continues, and with possible reunification between the North and South, poverty would continue to decrease in Cyprus.

– Matthew Cline

Photo: Flick

poverty in Cyprus
Cyprus is a Mediterranean nation with about a quarter of its population living in poverty, but it’s difficult to understand the full scope of the issue because the government does not consider poverty in Cyprus to be a major issue worthy of recording.

To make matters more complex, Cyprus is a nation divided between the north and south. The north is a self-declared Turkish Republic, and the south is known simply as the Republic of Cyprus. This division makes keeping track of those in need on the island more difficult.

 

A Brief History

Cyprus was classified as a low-income country by the U.N. until 1988, and received $331.6 million in aid from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the U.N. from 1973 to 1988. Cyprus has since become a popular vacation spot and rebounded from its tumultuous past; however, the nation has not shown its citizens as much attention as it has its economy. Of the 1.17 million people living in this popular tourist destination in 2016, 230,000 individuals were at risk of poverty.

 

Tracking Poverty

One reason it’s hard to track poverty in Cyprus is due to the large Greek population in the south. They have strong familial relations, and if one family member suffers from poverty, there is usually someone in the family willing to take them in. Due to this, most at-risk individuals in Cyprus are immigrants, single mothers and retired elderly with no family.

Gathering statistics on poverty in the North is even more difficult, since the country is only recognized by one other U.N. nation (Turkey). Because of this, statistics aren’t regularly collected, and the only ones that are relate to GDP.

 

International Aid

In June 2012, Cyprus became the fifth euro-area member to request international aid. At the time of President Nicos Anastasiades’ first election, Cyprus had been shut out of debt markets for two years, with lenders losing 4.5 billion euros in 2012’s restructuring of Greek sovereign debt.

Over 100,000 people in Cyprus are unemployed, and shopkeepers and small businesses struggle to make ends meet. The nongovernmental organization, Volunteer Groups, reported that there are still over 12,000 additional families in desperate need of basic provisions.

 

Supporting the Community

Food lines and soup kitchens are a part of daily life for at least 40,000 Cypriot families. The Sophia Foundation and other charities are busy feeding school children and citizens in destitution. Up for election again in 2017, Nicos Anastasiades ran against opposition party leader Andros Kypriano — Kypriano said that the president is never called out on the issues of poverty in Cyprus.

“Mr. Anastasiades is not asked to explain why, whereas he and his administration are portraying Cyprus as something akin to Switzerland, about one-third of the population is on the poverty threshold. For the last five years this government has turned its back on low-income pensioners, disabled persons and sick people.”

Hopefully with more time and development, Cyprus will not only be able to accurately and comprehensively document its impoverished population, but it will also be able to make strides in poverty eradication.

– Sam Bramlett

Photo: Pixabay

education in CyprusIt is difficult for the Cyprus government to recognize the necessity of basic education in Cyprus when their Gross National Income (GNI) has decreased significantly from $32,560 in 2009 to $23,680 in 2016.

Cyprus is divided into two communities with separated laws and ideals. The Republic of Cyprus provides free basic education to children over age 3 or 4, whereas the Turkish Republic only allows children between ages 6 and 15 to access free education. Considering both communities make basic education accessible to the poor is a positive step forward.

However, one thing both communities agree upon is that child labour should not be completely eradicated, only monitored, so that children are working in acceptable conditions with an agreeable salary. Their laws state that only children 15 years and older are permitted to work any job, rather than attend school. It is also stated that a child must be at least 11 older in order to work after-school hours.

Although children in Cyprus are not being treated unfairly, allowing them to work is only encouraging them to drop out of school and feel as if education in Cyprus is not necessary or of any value.

UNICEF enforces that child labor worsens, or at least continues, the endless cycle of poverty by preventing children from receiving opportunities with higher pay and status. Although their education may be affordable for families, it is socially conditioned that the children must aid their family financially. Despite the opportunities that may be extended to them upon completing their education, many disregard the importance of education.

The denial of education is a threat to children’s basic human rights and puts Cyprus’s economy at risk with long-term consequences. Therefore, organizations like UNICEF are devoted to ending societally conditioned attitudes that permit child labour. They make the effort to bring awareness to the effects of disregarding basic education to countries like Cyprus.

Brianna White

Photo: Flickr

How to Help People in CyprusAs a result of the 2008 financial crisis, the poverty rate in Cyprus swelled by more than 28 percent. The interrelated problems of a three-year recession, high unemployment and austerity measures combined to make Cyprus the country most affected—behind Greece—by the eurozone financial crisis.

The Cypriot crisis was just one domino in the global financial crisis that spread from the U.S. to the eurozone. After the Greek economy began collapsing under its own debt, millions of Greek euros were withdrawn from Cypriot coffers, causing a cyclical run on Cypriot banks.

To acquire the $10 billion necessary to “bail-in” its financial sector, the Cypriot government agreed to implement a number of austerity measures to balance the budget and ensure the repayment of loans to the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the World Bank.

These measures included capital controls, across-the-board cuts to social welfare and education spending, tax increases on individuals and companies and tax reductions on foreigners bringing capital to Cyprus. Altogether, these policies served to worsen the effects of unemployment and recession on the average Cypriot, leading to a spike in poverty.

Although the Cypriot financial sector quickly recovered with the help of loans and the overall economy began growing again in 2014, the scars on the average Cypriot are still being felt. Unemployment still rests at 10 percent and many families saw their savings vanish as a result of bank defaults and capital controls.

A number of organizations like the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN), the “Hope for Children” United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child Policy Center, and Cans for Kids have been working on how to help people in Cyprus.

While EAPN has lobbied the European Union to support employment and social inclusion in Cyprus, and “Hope for Children” supports educational and health initiatives in Cyprus, Cans for Kids raises money for hospitalized youth. By supporting these organizations, anyone can have a direct impact on how to help people in Cyprus.

Nathaniel Sher
Photo: Flickr

common diseases in CyprusCyprus, an island in the Mediterranean Sea, gained its independence from Great Britain almost sixty years ago. Today, Cyprus is home to just over 1.2 million people, the vast majority of whom are Greek. These people are governed by the Republic of Cyprus, which is a presidential democracy. As is the case across the world, there are a plethora of common diseases in Cyprus that damage the Middle Eastern nation.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) only recommends that most people who are planning to visit Cyprus receive one vaccination: Hepatitis A. The vaccine is both safe and effective in preventing people from contracting the viral liver illness and mild to severe sickness that results. Contaminated food and water can potentially spread the disease, according to the WHO.

Depending on what one is planning to do in Cyprus, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends the vaccination for Hepatitis B. The activities that put one at risk for Hepatitis B in Cyprus include sexual activity, tattoos or piercings or medical procedures. One of the particularly important similarities between Hepatitis A and B is that vaccinations can prevent both.

Rare diseases are not quite as rare in Cyprus is their name suggests. In fact, it is estimated that over 60,000 people suffer from rare diseases. What are rare diseases? According to Cyprus Mail, “Most rare diseases are genetic and include congenital abnormalities…” Part of what makes combating rare diseases such a challenge is that there are many different types of them that require highly-valuable resources to alleviate.

One action being taken to help the many affected by rare diseases in Cyprus is the opening of a new health center in Nicosia, the nation’s capital, which will provide information and support to people with rare diseases. “This is very helpful because we are under one umbrella,” a woman who was present at the opening said to Cyprus Mail. She went on to say that in the past those who suffered from a rare disease often felt isolated and that they had nowhere to turn.

Hepatitis A and B are two common diseases in Cyprus that people need to take precautions against. Additionally, when grouped together, individual rare diseases are a major problem, but it seems as though steps are being taken to improve the situation.

Adam Braunstein

Photo: Flickr

Cyprus Poverty Rate
The European Social Watch Report 2010 identified the elderly as the generation most at-risk to be affected by poverty. However, within the past few years, the over-65 poverty rate has decreased dramatically, dropping from 45 percent in 2008 to 17.3 percent in 2015. Two key factors played a major role in this improvement.

 

Causes of Poverty in Cyprus

 

Pension Maturation: Everyone who is gainfully employed in Cyprus (including self-employed individuals) is eligible to receive compulsory social insurance. This insurance also includes an old age pension, which is the primary source of income for Cypriots over age 65.

The current Cypriot social insurance scheme was last reformed in 1980, affecting pension levels in two important ways. First, the system changed from a flat-rate to an earnings-related structure. This means that the level of pension available is based on the level of insurable earnings. Second, pension levels are based on the length of the contribution period. As the current system has “matured,” or gotten older, retiring Cypriots have had more time to contribute to their pensions. This has allowed for an increase in income from old-age pension, directly correlating to the decrease in the over-65 poverty rate.

Overall Wage Decline: In the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis, unemployment rose and wages fell in Cyprus. The European Social Policy Network (ESPN) cited both a 7.6 percent drop in mean monthly earnings for full-time workers between 2010 and 2014 and a rise in non-standard employment as repercussions of the crisis. However, income for Cypriots over 65 remained relatively stable due to the old age pension.

It is important to note that the dramatic decline in the over-65 poverty rate in Cyprus is not necessarily secure. The ESPN predicts that pension growth will level off as the system fully matures, the poverty line will rise as the economy grows and pension levels will be lower in the future as workers in non-standard positions retire. Maintaining the current Cyprus poverty rate for Cypriots over age 65 will require focusing on income levels for retirees. In the current system, that means safeguarding the ability for workers to obtain an adequate pension.

Erik Beck

Photo: Flickr

Water Quality in Cyprus
Cyprus is an island country in Europe that divided in 1974 when Turkey took over the north section of the country. The island then broke into numerous sections and was placed under the control of Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. To this day, the U.N. patrols the island to maintain peace.

The Cyprus economy depends heavily on its agricultural sector. In fact, Cyprus’s government found that the agrarian sector absorbs 69 percent of the country’s total water usage. However, due to the numerous years of light rainfall in the region, this segment of the country’s economy has suffered.

 

Is Water Quality The Real Issue?

In 2008, Cyprus had its fourth year of drought with little rainfall, which only got worse during the summer months of each year. In recent years, the situation has continued to worsen. Although the water quality in Cyprus is high, the volume of available water is low compared to what the country needs.

On top of the ongoing drought in the region, the Cypriot government has struggled to find alternative water sources for its citizens. Cyprus has a history of over-stressing groundwater resources. As a result, the country has met the ecological limit for how much water they can pull from the ground. This limit has reduced the water quality in Cyprus considerably.

 

Possible Solutions

The Cypriot government has been forced to implement measures to reduce water usage in the country. The government made a 25 to 30 percent cut to the domestic water supplies all throughout the country. With little amounts of rainfall and water cuts by the government continuing to be present, many farmers in the country struggle to make ends meet.

Another method the Cypriot government used was raising taxes for water consumption. The largest water users often receive bills of thousands of euros. This policy has resulted in many cutting back on water usage.

There is also a controversial plan to build a pipeline that will travel under the ocean from Turkey to Cyprus. This expensive project could provide large quantities of fresh water to the island.

It is clear that the overuse of water and prolonged drought has affected the water quality in Cyprus immensely. Although the Cypriot government has made efforts to reduce the amount of water consumed while it faces an ongoing drought, this policy is still not sustainable. New technologies must be created to solve the issue of limited water resources in Cyprus.

Nick Beauchamp

Photo: Flickr

Human Rights in CyprusThe Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus is a complex modern-day geopolitical concern with factional strife ongoing since the second half of last century. Recently, human rights in Cyprus has become a more significant issue. Here are 10 facts that explain how the country evolved to its present situation and what is being done to combat its human rights issues today.

  1. Cyprus is one country with two de facto autonomous regions. The southern half of Cyprus is governed by the internationally recognized Cypriot government, and the northern half is governed by the Turkish-Cypriot community.
  2. A violent separation occurred in 1974. The United Nations currently has a peacekeeping force maintaining a buffer zone between the two regions.
  3. Peace talks between the two sides occurred as recently as July 2017 but failed to make any substantial progress. A main issue of contention is the presence of Turkish troops on the northern side of the island.
  4. While the presence of a foreign military is certainly a worry to the international human rights community, human rights issues are present in other areas of Cyprus. A State Department report found that Cypriot police were using physical abuse, particularly toward foreigners and migrants. There were also reports of the police blackmailing illegal migrants.
  5. The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) expressed concern in a report about the recent rise of right-wing extremist groups in Cyprus. CERD also criticized the Cypriot government for ineffectively handling hate speech in the media.
  6. As migrant rights become more prevalent in discussions of human rights in Cyprus, CERD is urging Cyprus to ratify the Convention for the protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.
  7. CERD further encouraged the Cypriot government to ensure human rights for domestic workers. Currently, migrant domestic workers cannot hold long-term residence status in Cyprus.
  8. Due to the increasing diversity in Cyprus, the nongovernmental organization Kisa was created in 1998. Kisa works to promote multiculturalism and end racism, xenophobia and discrimination in Cyprus.
  9. Kisa has had great success in promoting its vision through litigation and campaigns. However, a 2010 Kisa peace festival was disrupted by right-wing protestors who injured festival participants. The police arrested festival attendees.
  10. Current problems of human rights in Cyprus may be exacerbated by the recent finding that 244,000 Cypriots are at risk of poverty or social exclusion. That amounts to almost one-third of Cyprus’ population.

Human rights in Cyprus is a complicated issue. Nevertheless, the international community and groups in Cyprus remain committed to finding a peaceful solution to the issues that are present on the island.

Sean Newhouse

Photo: Flickr

Hunger in Cyprus
It is routine for countries to wave the banner of economic success while turning a blind eye to their citizens who do not benefit from their own country’s well-being. The reason for this is often an increased inequality gap in which the wealth of the privileged outweighs the poverty of the less privileged. Hunger in Cyprus may be surprising due to the country’s falsified “good” economic reputation, but poverty rates are at an all-time high.

Cyprus, classified as a low-income country by the U.N. until 1988, received a total of $331.6 million in aid from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the U.N. from 1973 to 1988. The FAO assisted Cyprus’ government in the formation of seven projects intending to lift Cyprus to high-income status. Since its success, Cyprus became a donor country itself, recently supporting projects in Georgia and Armenia. Unfortunately, Cyprus does not show the same concern for its own citizens.

Today, one in four Cyprus citizens live in poverty. Over 100,000 people are unemployed, and shopkeepers and small businesses struggle to stay afloat. In the city of Paphos alone, the Church of Cyprus reported that hunger in Cyprus requires them to provide food provisions for 800-1000 families each day. In addition, the nongovernmental organization Volunteer Groups reported that there are still over 12,000 additional families in desperate need of basic provisions.

And who do the citizens of Cyprus blame? A recent poll found that 80 percent of Cypriots no longer trust or believe the government, the authorities or the political elite. Furthermore, they directly blame those groups for poverty and hunger in Cyprus.

Poverty and hunger among the underprivileged seem harmless to a government only until the underprivileged come to massively outweigh the privileged. At this point, poverty and hunger in Cyprus have grown into a major threat to government and social stability, as well as the country’s international economic reputation. The only solution is to stop ignoring the statistics and begin to rebuild the economy.

Sophie Nunnally

Photo: Pixabay