Posts

10. Top 10 Facts About Poverty in Poland
Poland’s future is in jeopardy. More specifically, the future of Poland’s youth is in jeopardy. While the country is dealing with difficult poverty issues, the youth of Poland face uncertainty in job perspective. Detailed in this list of the top 10 facts about poverty in Poland are the contributing factors to today’s crisis, as well as possible improvement in the future based on the projected increase of foreign aid to Poland.

Top 10 Facts About Poverty in Poland

  1. The CIA World Factbook estimates that 17 percent of Poland’s population is under the poverty line. The World Data Group defines the poverty line as earning anything below $1.90 per day. Poland’s total population is 37.95 million people, which means that there are 6.4 million people in poverty. To put this into perspective, that is the number of people that currently live in Indiana.
  2. According to the World Bank Data, unemployment in Poland is around 14 percent and among the young population, it is 25 percent. This level of unemployment was reached in small towns like Tarnobrzeg due to leaders prioritizing failed tourist attractions over the actual sources of employment and money. For example, the leaders of Tarnobrzeg shut down their mines to replace them with an artificial lake. The lake was only able to be used during the two warmest months of the year, hurting the town’s economy badly.
  3. While the average salary of Polish citizens is at an all-time high (around $963), the minimum wage is less than half of the average. Average rent across Poland ranges from $272 to $816.
  4. Many citizens give a large chunk of their paycheck to heating companies to stay warm during Poland’s harsh winters, resulting in a lesser amount of money to meet other survival needs. The average cost of heating in Poland is $180.
  5. Young people in Poland struggle to keep long-lasting employment because many agencies use temporary work. In the World Bank Data coverage of poverty in Poland, the story states that 27 percent of the young population faces “junk contracts” that do not help their living situations. “Junk contracts” are temporary contracts for workers that do not offer a stable income, a source of long-term financial stability or any health benefits. These job prospects are so terrible that around one million people between the ages of 15 and 24 travel abroad to earn higher wages. Between 2009 and 2011, only 40.3 percent of temporary workers were able to get permanent jobs, according to the Social Diagnosis survey.
  6. Education is becoming the important focus for young people in Poland. Despite 80 percent of the youth population attending schools that lead to higher education, future employers are uninterested in these dedicated students and fail to train them instead. Social Europe’s report on youth unemployment in Poland claims that less than 23 percent of Polish companies cooperated with a school or a center for practical training.
  7. World Bank Data claims that Poland’s economy grew 81 percent between 1990 and 2010. However, the wage gaps between the wealthy and those below the poverty line also grew. Scientific Research Journal found that “rising income inequalities were exacerbated as Poland’s economy grew and private ownership expanded”.
  8. Approximately 35 percent of children under the age of 17 rely on government assistance. Not only that, but World Socialist Web reports that 3 percent of families with more than one child cannot afford to feed all members of the family. The Polish government only plans on allowing approximately $220 million in government funding each year until 2020.
  9. In 2015, World Bank Data released a report claiming that spending programs in support of low-income families in Poland are well targeted and that they mostly benefit low-income households. While this is a great start, Poland must expand its assistance to the poor. World Bank Data stated that a solution to this problem would be for the government to investigate the causes of this high poverty level and start there. Some government assistance programs realize that this is an important step and have suggested the implementation of a family cash bonus entitled Rodzina 500+. This step will also look into how to restructure the system so that low-income families are the first to receive support.
  10. According to USAID, the U.S. gave Poland approximately $13 million in 2016. However, a large portion of the funding is going towards the military. The amount of aid going to Poland has substantially dropped in the last 15 years. On average, the U.S. gave between $50 million and $80 million until 2015. In 2016, $11 million went to military aid and a grand total of $6,400 went to maternal and child health.

Poland’s poverty crisis is not quite at a catastrophic level. The people are surviving and the government is acknowledging the crisis. These top 10 facts about poverty in Poland attempt to show the spectrum of issues and possible solutions for Poland. Poland’s government, as well as the U.S.’s foreign aid system, can help the underprivileged and prevent this situation from worsening.

– Miranda Garbaciak

Photo: Flickr

Causes of Poverty in Monaco

What are the causes of poverty in Monaco? This is a difficult question to answer. As of 2009, according to the World Health Organization, Monaco does not have any percentage of its population living below the national or international poverty line. So, there are essentially no causes of poverty in Monaco.

Monaco, a microstate located on France‘s southern coast, has a small population of 38,000 people. In 2015, Monaco had the highest per capita GDP in the world. Thus, it is not surprising that Monaco is home to some of the world’s wealthiest people and many popular, expensive tourist attractions such as Monte Carlo.

Furthermore, the cost of living is extremely high in Monaco; property costs $9,000 per square inch, which is approximately 50 percent more expensive than the average apartment in New York City. Monaco is roughly the size of Central Park, and so it is fairly difficult for a large number of people of low socioeconomic status to find a place to live.

In addition, the working class of Monaco is hardly even comparable to the working class of many developed countries like the United States. Workers are granted competitive, tax-free salaries and they do not suffer the same hardships and difficulties that part-time, minimum wage workers in the United States face.

Health outcomes are oftentimes linked to poverty rates and may provide meaningful insight on a country’s poverty rate. Underdeveloped countries, which experience higher incidence rates of communicable diseases, have higher poverty rates than developed countries like Monaco, which experience high incidence rates of non-communicable diseases. Infectious, communicable diseases that are oftentimes rampant among groups of low socioeconomic status do not have high incidence rates in Monaco.

For instance, diarrhea, which is a common indicator of infectious disease rates, was reported to have an incidence rate of 0.3 in 2009, which is comparable to the world’s lowest incidence rate of diarrhea of 0.2 at that time. Cardiovascular disease is an example of a non-communicable disease that has a fairly high incidence rate in developed countries. In Monaco, cardiovascular disease had an incidence rate of 2.1 in 2009, compared to the world’s lowest incidence rate of cardiovascular disease, 1.4, at that time.

Monaco’s health outcomes are comparable to those of developed countries rather than underdeveloped countries. These facts, combined with the protections for worker salaries and the many wealthy people that live there, mean that poverty is fortunately not an issue for the people of Monaco.

Emily Santora

Photo: Flickr

Immigrant In-Equality: Causes of Poverty in Liechtenstein

The Principality of Liechtenstein is a country located in Europe that is landlocked between Switzerland and Austria. It is a relatively wealthy country, containing one of the highest measures of GDP per capita in the world, a low inflation rate and the benefits of a monetary and economic union with Switzerland. It therefore has one of the highest standards of living across the globe, although it comes with the trade-off of an extremely high cost of living.

Much of the country’s wealth can be attributed to its status as a tax haven, though it has taken steps in recent years to regulate and rid itself of this image and to reposition itself as a legitimate financial center. Despite the country’s economic successes, there is still poverty to be found here.

The causes of poverty in Liechtenstein become evident when analyzing the immigration policies put in place by the country’s government. In 2013, many media outlets in Europe began to report that the growing immigrant population was composed of many low-income families. This is mainly due to the increased share of the population that are immigrants, with the incomes earned by these immigrants being lower than those of the native population. This has caused the overall income growth of Liechtenstein to be subjected to downward pressure in recent years.

The unemployment rate of immigrants in Liechtenstein is approximately twice as large as it is for national citizens that have lived in Liechtenstein for their entire lives. In terms of how this applies in practice, one in two unemployed persons living in Liechtenstein is an immigrant. Despite these concerns, compared to other European countries, Liechtenstein remains in a prosperous position and the unemployment rate in general is at a very low level. As of 2012, the average unemployment rate faced by the country was 2.4 percent, with the unemployment for national citizens being 1.7 percent, compared to immigrants, who had an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent.

This is the result of a restrictive immigration policy based on bilateral agreements and clear economic considerations, combined with the insatiable job demand of Liechtenstein’s economy. One of the essential guidelines for immigrants is that there is a requirement for the person immigrating to have the ability to support one’s own cost of living when applying for residence. This means that the onset of poverty usually occurs sometime after having immigrated, with the main reasons for poverty ultimately being unemployment, illnesses, death of an employed family member and excessive indebtedness.

A relevant quote by economist John Kenneth Galbraith rings true with poverty in Liechtenstein, in which he writes, “people are poverty-stricken when their income, even if adequate for survival, falls markedly behind that of the community.” This is one of the main causes of poverty in Liechtenstein and it illustrates an area that can be improved upon, leading to a greater equality of wealth between national citizens and immigrants and less poverty overall.

Drew Fox

Photo: Flickr

Cost of Living in Colombia
Just like many countries, the cost of living in Colombia varies depending on the location, but, overall, the small South American country delivers a low cost of living to its citizens, while offering all the amenities of a more expensive country.

The low prices can be seen across the country in everyday expenses. Real estate ranges from as high as $1,250 a month in a major city to $350 in a small town. The same goes for buying property in Colombia. Land can sell anywhere from $1 million to about $250,000. Additionally, residents spend an average of $75 on utilities such as water, electricity and gas.

Although on average, expenses are generally higher in Bogota, boasting a price index of 88 out of 100, most places in Colombia boast cheap everyday prices for residents. Additionally, compared to major cities in the U.S., the cost of living in Colombia is generally 50 percent cheaper.

Low costs on everyday items are essential for native Colombians, as 27.8 percent of the population lived below the poverty line in 2015. Colombia also faces a 9.2 percent unemployment rate, both of which are caused by the social imbalances and unequal distribution of government programs.

However, with poverty steadily declining, Colombian citizens are able to enjoy more services, such as health care. Health care in Colombia is substantially cheaper than in developed countries like the United States. In fact, Colombian health care is reported to having procedure costs between 50 and 90 percent less than in the United States.

In addition, Colombia is a leading coal exporter, ranking as the world’s fourth largest coal exporter. The country also leads as the second largest coffee and cut flower exporter and is Latin America’s fourth largest oil producer.

The country’s GDP growth averaged 4.7 percent each year in the last decade. While Colombia has seen a recent rise in food and energy prices and an inflation spike, the country is still experiencing a 1.9 percent industrial production growth rate while boasting a $688 billion GDP in 2016.

Additionally, as the peso continues to drop due to the overproduction of oil, in 2016, one U.S. dollar could give residents up to 3,288 pesos, a 25 percent increase from the year prior.

With an increase in certain industries, such as coal and oil, and with the coupling of cheap healthcare and a low cost of living in Colombia, along with improved infrastructure, Colombia is quickly transforming from a country burdened with a high rate of poverty to a rising low cost country with all the amenities of a much more expensive country.

Amira Wynn

Photo: Pixabay

Why Is the Cost of Living in Norway So High?
With its capital, Oslo, ranked as the 59th most expensive city in the world, Norway is anything but cheap. The high cost of living in Norway is a result of its egalitarian social system, which relies on a value-added tax system and minimal variations between incomes among its citizens to sustain its unique economy and socioeconomic structure. However, the social welfare system provided by the Norwegian government as well as the low unemployment rate in Norway are the positive results of the pricey standard of living.

A key feature that defines the high cost of living in Norway is the increased tax rate. From income tax (starting at 28 percent) to value-added tax, Norway’s tax structure strengthens its egalitarian social system. One of the benefits of using this type of social system is that there is a very minimal differentiation between incomes in Norway. This prevents wage-gaps and renders social classes in Norway to practically nonexistent.

While inadequate pay for minimum wage is a problem among many developed countries, Norway has abandoned this concept all together. Most citizens in different employments sectors, from education to food service, earn a living wage. Although this boosts the price of common goods significantly, it also ensures that Norway’s working class does not become impoverished. This socioeconomic ideology is responsible for reducing Norway’s unemployment rate to a minuscule 3.4 percent.

Education, health care and transportation in Norway are all subsidized by the government. High taxes provide for quality public services. This is especially evident in health care for Norwegian families; cash-for-care benefits, as well as free prenatal visits, including maternal and paternal leave, are all covered by the Norwegian government.

Mutual functionalism between Norway’s citizens and government not only allows its economy to thrive but its democratic process too as well. By rewarding workforce participation with quality social welfare, the Nordic model is an economic solution to ensure societal development. Although the cost of living in Norway may seem inopportune at first glance, there is no doubt that the Norwegian social system provides exceptional benefits for its citizens.

Kaitlin Hocker
Photo: Flickr

Cost of Living in Italy
The cost of living in Italy can be rather high in some ways when compared to the U.S., but less costly in others. Whether the topic is food, clothing, housing or entertainment, living in Italy varies in its levels of expense.

Here are eight facts about the cost of living in Italy:

  1. In U.S. dollars, on average, the monthly rent for a 900-square foot apartment in Italy is around $1,079. A 480-square foot apartment in a cheaper area stands at around $732 per month. This varies from city to city.
  2. It costs around $444 to buy a 40″ flat screen TV in Italy. Depending on the brand, this is rather high compared to the cost of a 40″ flat screen TV in the U.S.
  3. The cost of living in Italy greatly depends on what area of Italy a person is living in. For example, renting an apartment in the city of Milan can cost up to double of what an apartment in Naples would cost.
  4. It is cheaper to buy locally in Italy, rather than to purchase imported items. This is not only beneficial in the aspect of saving money, but it is also a way to support the locals as well.
  5. Big Macs cost around $9.40 in Italy. This is almost $4 more than the cost in the U.S.
  6. Healthcare is free to people who live in Italy. Citizens have the option of paying extra for private healthcare options, but this is not required. This is certainly one of the biggest financial pros of living in Italy.
  7. A medicine that seems to be more expensive in Italy is ibuprofen. In Italy, one pill costs around $1.18, meaning that it costs around $28.32 to get a 24-count bottle of ibuprofen. Name brand 24-count ibuprofen sells for as low as only $3.48 in the U.S. and other countries.
  8. When it comes to travel expenses, citizens have to consider that there are a lot of tolls to pay when traveling by vehicle in Italy. This, combined with the costs of fuel, makes for a rather expensive automobile trip.

These facts about the cost of living in Italy show that there are both pros and cons when it comes to finances for those living in Italy. While some cities in this European country are more expensive than others, it still appears that the cost of living in Italy can be affordable thanks to larger perks such as its free health care benefits.

Noel Mcdavid

Photo: Pixabay

Cost of Living in Egypt
According to XE, a website that tracks the exchange rates of countries worldwide using “live mid-market rates,” a single U.S. dollar equals E£ 17.86 (Egyptian Pounds). Given how said markets are alway liable to change, this information is accurate at the time of writing. Below are five aspects of Egyptian life and how much they cost.

1. Housing:
According to Expatistan, a website that compiles information provided by expatriates, rent for a furnished 900 square-foot apartment in Cairo costs E£ 5,700 ($319) in what is categorized as an expensive area. The same accommodations in a normal area go for about E£ 3,005 ($165) a month. Utilities for two tenants costs approximately E£ 596 ($33) per month.

2. Utilities: If someone wanted to live in a furnished studio (480 square feet), it would cost E£ 3,867 ($217) in an expensive area and E£ 1,651 ($92) in a regular area. A single tenant’s utility bill comes out to E£ 452 ($25). High-speed internet (8 MBps) costs E£ 277 ($16) a month.

3. Food:
Going by Expatistan’s index for the cost of living in Egypt, food prices are relatively inexpensive. They tend to hover around the E£ 7 (37 cents), which is the cost two pounds of potatoes up to E£ 55 ($3.06), which is the cost of a fast food combo meal. The most expensive items are lunch menu items in Cairo’s business district and a bottle of decent red table wine, E£ 124 ($7) and E£ 149 ($8), respectively.

4. Transportation:
In Egypt, a monthly bus pass runs at about E£ 245 ($14). Taking a five-mile taxi ride during a business day is E£ 34 ($1.89). If one would rather have more control over their transportation, they could purchase a new car for E£ 418,055 ($23,407), with a liter of gas costing E£ 3.92 (22 cents).

5. Schooling:
Egypt’s schooling system adheres to a 6+3+3 framework, meaning “6 years of primary school, 3 years of secondary school and 3 years of senior secondary school.” Education is mandatory for children aged six to fourteen and goes from grades one through nine.

According to Numbeo, another site that provides costs of living indexes for countries worldwide based on a multitude of submissions, private preschool costs E£ 2,114.84 ($118.48) a month for a single child. Yearly tuition at an international private school is listed as E£ 40,486.49 ($2,268.15) for one child.

Overall, the cost of living in Egypt seems relatively balanced. However, it is important to keep in mind that individuals determine affordability.

Jada Haynes

Photo: Flickr

Cost of Living in South Korea
South Korea is an East Asian nation often overshadowed by its politically aggressive neighbor, North Korea. However, South Korea deserves recognition itself for its green, hilly countryside, old Buddhist temples, coastal fishing villages and buzzing cities. With its capital, Seoul, the sixth most expensive city in the world, South Korea as a whole has a 5.77 percent higher cost of living than the United States (when rent is not included).

Important factors for estimating the cost of living include housing, gas prices, unemployment rate and the average cost of necessary items. Moon Jae-in won the early presidential election on May 9, 2017, so his administration may make changes that impact these factors.

Housing
Low housing prices and rent help bring down the average cost of living in South Korea, especially in major cities like Seoul. Currently, rent in South Korea is 40.27 percent lower than rent in the United States on average for all cities. For example, rent in San Francisco, the most expensive city in the United States, averages 239 percent more expensive than rent in Seoul, the most expensive city in South Korea.

Gas Prices
Higher gas prices raise the cost of living in South Korea. The average price of a liter of gas, which equates to about one-fourth of a gallon, is $1.28 in Seoul. The average price for a gallon of gas in South Korea at the time of this writing is $4.97, while it is only $2.31 in the United States. The expensive gas prices reflect the high tax on fuels that South Korea imposes.

Unemployment Rate
Another factor that impacts the cost of living in South Korea is the rate of unemployment. Low unemployment can actually increase the cost of living in a city or country. South Korea’s unemployment rate declined to 3.6 percent in July 2017. Moon Jae-in’s administration plans to focus on job creation.

Average Cost of Necessary Items
Finally, South Korea’s higher average cost of necessary items, such as groceries, increases the cost of living in South Korea. Grocery prices in South Korea are currently 24.66 percent higher than in the United States. For example, an average loaf of bread in Seoul costs $14.82.

This combination of factors makes the cost of living in South Korea moderate. While overall it is costlier than the United States, the two countries differ on certain aspects of measurement.

Lauren Mcbride

Photo: Pixabay

Cost of Living in AngolaAccording to Mercer’s Annual Cost of Living Index, Luanda, the capital of Angola, is the world’s most expensive city. Renting a two-bedroom apartment costs $6,800 a month on average.

Around half of Angolans live on less than $2 a day, which raises the question: how has the cost of living in Angola become so unreachable to most of the population?

Several factors have produced the current economic situation. The Angolan Civil War, which lasted from 1975 until 2002, destroyed the country’s infrastructure. As a result, importing and exporting is a laborious and expensive process. The country’s business elite, who largely control the import companies, have made little attempt to bring down costs from which they profit.

Angola’s large expat population helps explain why the country is able to sustain its status as more expensive than Singapore or Hong Kong, despite the bulk of the population living in extreme poverty. Angola has Africa’s second-largest oil reserves and as a result, a large expat population based in Luanda has high levels of expendable income.

Post-civil war, Angola’s GDP grew at an astronomical rate, reaching 23 percent growth in 2008, buoyed by a flood of foreign investment. Housing and infrastructure failed to keep up. This has left the cost of living in Angola at its current unattainable level, with only Luanda’s expat population able to afford it.

Extreme poverty has indeed declined by one-third since the civil war, but economic inequality has grown exponentially throughout Angola’s oil boom. For rural Angolans, the country’s economic windfall has done little, aside from making the capital city an inaccessible place of extreme expense. The rural poverty rate stands at 57 percent, compared to 19 percent among urban Angolans.

The government is looking for resolutions and bringing down prices on basic foods has been made a priority. If this is successful, Angola’s cost of living can become less of a burden on its largely poverty-stricken population, who are currently shut out of the new wealth the country is enjoying.

Jonathan Riddick

Photo: Flickr

Cost of Living in FinlandFinland is a Scandinavian country with a population of 5.5 million people. While known for its excellence in education and civil liberties, Finland also has a high cost of living. Near the end of the twentieth century, Finland was announced the world’s most expensive country. Fortunately, the situation has improved. Prices and the cost of living in Finland have decreased since the turn of the century.

According to calculations by the Global Property Guide, a bundle of goods and services costing one dollar in the U.S. would cost $1.03 in Finland. While this is lower than the U.K. and other Scandinavian countries, it is higher than most countries in the European continent.

While housing is usually reasonably priced, certain items drive up the cost of living in Finland. The country has a state-run monopoly on alcoholic beverages, which helps keep prices at 172 percent of the European average. Other items are similarly pricey. Food tends to cost 120 percent of the European average, which is due in part to a significant value-added tax. The average cost of a Coke or Pepsi is $2.44, while the average McDonald’s combo meal is $8.18. A gallon of milk costs about $4.10.

Finns bring home slightly more money in their paychecks than workers in the U.S. The average monthly salary in Finland is about $3,854, while the average monthly salary in the United States is $3,769.

As in most countries, the cost of living varies depending on where you live. The cost of living in the capital of Finland, Helsinki, is significantly more expensive than living in the rural areas. Housing prices in Helsinki are double the prices in the rest of Finland.

While Finns benefit from higher wages and quality education, the cost of living remains higher than in the U.S. or most European countries. Finns don’t seem to mind, though, seeing as Finland was recently ranked the fifth happiest country in the world.

Brock Hall