Poverty in MoldovaMoldova is a small country located south of Ukraine and north of Romania. Approximately 34 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Moldova is considered to be one of poorest countries in Europe, and its poverty rate is often linked to the collapse of the Soviet Union as well as an absence of work opportunities.

Moldova used to be a relatively affluent country; in fact, it was one of the richest states in the former Soviet Union. However, once it became an independent country – when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 – economic problems were initiated. Moldova is still recovering from the collapse and it is struggling with making the transition to a market economy. Moldova was not successful in creating a sustainable foundation, either economically or politically. The country is vulnerable because of inequalities in education, access to services and economic – as well as climatic – shocks.

Jobs in Moldova are scarce. Between 300,000 and 800,000 citizens have illegally left the country to work abroad. This tends to be the only viable option because work is poorly paid. There is such little job creation in Moldova that family members working abroad often send remittances home. These remittances help keep the national economy from collapsing. The labor market needs to be strengthened effectively for any progress to be made in Moldova.

The agricultural sector makes up 30 percent of the labor force, with another 24 percent of people involved in low-intensity agricultural work. There is a dependence on subsistence agriculture, which is not a viable way of farming for an entire country. Focusing on improving the agricultural sector is important, because improvements will affect the majority of the country as well as the job market.

There are many areas needing repair in Moldova. Poverty there is associated with the collapse of the Soviet Union, as well as the inability to cultivate a successful job market. Focusing on the political and economic foundation will eventually bring people out of poverty. Surely improvements can be made, as Moldova is a relatively new country with substantial room for growth.

Lucy Voegeli

Photo: Flickr