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Montenegro Poverty RateMontenegro is a small Balkan country that declared independence from Serbia in 2006. Since that time, the poverty rate in Montenegro has varied rather significantly, rising as high as 11.3 percent (2006, 2012) and falling as low as 4.9 percent (2008). The most recent data available, from 2013, lists the Montenegro poverty rate at 8.6 percent.

Prior to Montenegro’s independence, the country of Serbia and Montenegro was attempting accession into the European Union. Now an independent country, Montenegro is in its own process of accession into the EU. If and when Montenegro becomes an EU member, the Montenegro poverty rate has the potential for a fairly dramatic change, due to differences in how poverty is calculated.

Montenegro currently uses an absolute poverty rate. The poverty line as reported in 2013 was €186.54 per month. This line was calculated using basic costs of life needs, consisting of food costs and non-food needs. In contrast, the EU uses a relative poverty rate calculation. The poverty line in EU member states is calculated as 60 percent of the median income.

Attempting to calculate the relative poverty rate in Montenegro to demonstrate the difference is not easy. Monstat, Montenegro’s statistical office, currently provides average income rather than median income, so determining the relative poverty rate based on median income is not immediately possible. Using markers such as the given average income and income inequality index to estimate median income suggest the poverty line would rise using a relative calculation. Using EU member poverty rates as a guideline would also seem to suggest the potential for a higher poverty rate in a relative system.

Montenegro’s foreign minister Srđan Darmanović stated earlier this year that Montenegrin accession into the EU could happen as early as 2022. Even with the relative volatility of the Montenegro poverty rate over the last decade, a sudden rise around the point of accession need not be an immediate concern if understood as a change in the calculation system.

Erik Beck

Photo: Pixabay

Causes of Poverty in LiberiaSeveral reasons are behind the causes of poverty in Liberia. The country has dealt with a 14-year civil war, and even after slightly recovering, it is still in a vulnerable state.

What are the causes of poverty in Liberia? The main reasons are corruption and government conflict. Corruption in the government is the major epidemic, infiltrating many of the other sectors of society. According to Transparency International, low public sector salaries and a lack of decent training create the incentive for corruption.

The country also fails to utilize its natural resources in a productive way. The country is rich with mineral wealth including iron ore, timber, diamonds, rubber and gold; however, natural resource management continues to deal with corruption and governance issues. If natural resource management can remain uncorrupted, the country can use these minerals as a way to bring in legitimate funding.

Another of the causes of poverty in Liberia is that during the wars, more than 200,000 people lost their lives. Many Liberian children were forced to fight in these wars, and have had few opportunities to adjust back to a normal civilian life. This then results in them turning to crime and a life of poverty.

An estimated 64 percent of Liberians live below the poverty line and 1.3 million live in extreme poverty, out of a population of 4.6 million, according to World Food Programme. The country depends on imports, which does not help with its agricultural markets already being integrated poorly. There is inadequate rural road infrastructures, limited smallholder participation in value chains and restrained institutional capacity of farmers’ organizations. Food security is also affecting 41 percent of the population, making chronic malnutrition high.

Liberia, however, is beginning to benefit from the work of some organizations like Mercycorps, which is bringing aid to those in poverty. It is providing water, food and teaching locals how to provide for themselves in a developing economy. It is also helping to fix Liberia’s market gaps as well as helping its economy recover. Additionally, there are organizations helping children find better lives after being soldiers.

Liberia is slowly on track to overcome poverty but ultimately needs more help. With financial assistance from other countries including the U.S and stopping the corruption, Liberia can emerge from poverty.

Chavez Spicer

Photo: Flickr

Causes of Poverty in LuxembourgLuxembourg boasts one of the highest standards of living globally, with the world’s highest per capita income of $46,591 per person. However, with one in five citizens living under the threat of poverty and social exclusion, even one of the world’s richest countries cannot escape poverty.

In Luxembourg, most people live comfortably. Since 2009, the employment rate has increased by more than 16 percent but the current unemployment rate is only 5.9 percent – well below the European average of 10.4 percent. Generous social benefits and laws condemning discrimination against women, ethnic minorities and disabled people further improve the overall quality of life in Luxembourg.

Despite these promising conditions, poverty is still an issue in Luxembourg. In 2013, the threshold for the risk of poverty amounted to approximately €1,665. During that year, about 15.9 percent of people living in the country found themselves in that category – of this group, 23.9 percent were children.

An article written by Gornick and Jantti identified Luxembourg as a high income country with disproportionately high child poverty. In the study, they found that children in Luxembourg were 20 percent more likely to be poor than the overall population.

One of the main causes of poverty in Luxembourg is having lived in poverty before. The risk of remaining poor or becoming poor for those who have previously lived in poverty is about 70 percent. On the other hand, those who have had no prior experience with poverty only face a four percent risk of entering poverty. Consequently, 60 percent of the level of state dependence is made up of those who have previously experienced poverty.

The Luxembourg Chamber of Employees identified another one of the causes of poverty in Luxembourg. They analyzed the relationship between the risk of poverty and cost of housing and found that nearly one third of tenants faced the risk of poverty. In other European countries, such as France and Germany, this risk is much lower.

One way that the Luxembourg government attempts to fight poverty and social exclusion is through the minimum guaranteed income (MGI). The MGI is given to people or households who fall below a certain threshold and its main goal is to provide sufficient means of existence and opportunities for social and professional inclusion.

Efforts such as the MGI are critical steps to improving poverty in Luxembourg. While many live comfortably and the country is prosperous in several ways, still more must be done to assist those in poverty and to lower the unnaturally high proportion of children in poverty.

Lauren Mcbride

Photo: Flickr

Poverty Rate in Tunisia
Tunisia proved the authority of its democracy when 2010 uprisings overthrew a decade-long dictatorship. That same year, the World Bank found that the poverty rate in Tunisia had been cut in half since the start of the century. Tunisia’s GDP has doubled as it approaches 10 years since that revolution, but rural areas are still stuck in a rut of poverty.

Most economic growth is localized to coastal, urban communities. The agricultural sector only contributes 10 percent to the overall GDP, but 35 percent of the country’s population competes for that small percentage. The result is that two-thirds of the country’s poor population lives in rural, agrarian areas.

Still, Tunisia is considered a success story and role model for other countries fighting poverty. The government implemented programs to improve the national status of education, healthcare and infrastructure after the new democracy took hold in 2011, and the aggregate influence was tangible. But the disparity remains, and the poverty rate in Tunisia is as much as 30 percent higher in some rural regions.

 

The Devastating Effects of the Poverty Rate in Tunisia

 

In hard to access areas, potable water and electricity are only available to 65 percent of people. This leaves nearly half of the poor population without water or electricity. The number of women receiving prenatal care is 35 percent lower in rural areas, and infant mortality rates are significantly higher. The Tunisian government has made basic healthcare accessible to all people, regardless of income, so the adverse statistics seem to represent a different problem.

Literacy rates (a strong indicator of poverty) are just above 98 percent for males between 15-24, and near 96 percent for females of the same age across Tunisia. These are promising figures, just like the overall improvement in poverty rate in Tunisia, but again there is a disparity in rural areas. Dropout rates for primary education remain at about 50 percent for the whole country, disproportionately attributed to children in poverty, and especially to girls in rural areas. The statistical stagnancy represents a social emphasis on patriarchy rather than education, and it is more and more clear that one father’s agrarian income can no longer support a family.

Tunisia’s battle against poverty shows that change begins with people. The poverty rate in Tunisia will continue to improve as the people continue to seek self-sufficiency. The civilian uprising that created their new democracy was an inspiration to similar countries, and hope remains that societal examples within that new democracy will make education and health a greater priority in rural areas.

Brooke Clayton

Photo: Google

Causes of Poverty in UruguayIn recent years, Uruguay has been lauded as something of a success story in the realm of economic progress and poverty reduction. According to the World Bank, which has played an enormous role in supporting the Uruguayan economy over the past decade, poverty in Uruguay has decreased from 32.5 percent to 9.7 percent in the past ten years. Extreme poverty has nearly been eradicated with only 0.3 percent of the population being identified in the poorest sector. Still, poverty does exist in this Latin American country, and the causes of poverty in Uruguay can be summarized in three major categories: lack of education for young children, the rapidly modernizing rural sector and discrepancies in economic status between men and women.

A large majority of the impoverished population in Uruguay is made up of women and children. Children under the age of 15 make up a large percentage of the most impoverished sector. Further, rural families who fall in the poorest 20 percent of the population tend to have the largest number of children. This inverse relationship between family size and economic status contributes to the lack of nourishment and education available to the children in these families. Research performed by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean revealed extreme learning deficiencies in children at the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum.

The modernization of the rural sector has also played a large role in perpetuating the high level of poverty in the more rural regions of Uruguay. As rural production work is streamlined with the rise and availability of new technologies, those employed by rural producers are being forced out of work. While the more urban areas of Uruguay remain positively impacted by modernization the number of rural workers who are finding themselves unemployed due to modernization is also on the rise.

In both rural and urban areas of the country, women make up a large proportion of the workforce. In fact, Uruguayan women have the highest participation rate in the labor industry in all of Latin America. Still, the discrepancy in wages between men and women is enormous and one of the main causes of poverty in Uruguay. With Uruguayan women making less than 60 percent of men’s income on average, it is no wonder that women fall into the most impoverished sector far more often than men. Women also continue to fulfill traditional obligations in the home, allowing them less mobility and time during which to work for pay. As a result, single-mother households make up a large part of the poverty sector in Uruguay.

There is certainly still much work to be done in the restructuring of agribusiness, education and wage disparity between men and women if the causes of poverty in Uruguay are to be addressed in the coming years. However, the progress that the Uruguay has experienced in the past decade is no small feat.

With assistance from the World Bank, the Uruguayan government has been able to implement a development process — a composite of loans, insurance, donations and informational exchange — that has had outstanding results. In 2013, Uruguay was ranked as a high-income country with the largest middle class in the Americas, at 60 percent of the population. Beyond economics, Uruguayan citizens have an extremely high level of confidence in their government, based largely upon low levels of corruption and governmental stability.

Overall, Uruguay is something of an anomaly in Latin America in terms of its financial independence and high level of equal opportunity for citizens. And though poverty does still exist in the country, the prospects for decreasing the level of poverty even further are extremely favorable as Uruguay continues to grow and prosper as an egalitarian and economically stable country.

Bhavya Thamman

Photo: Flickr

Monaco poverty rateHome to millionaires, a renowned casino and a prestigious Formula One Grand Prix, Monaco claims another headlining reality: the Monaco poverty rate is zero.

In order for any country to have a zero percent poverty rate, there must be zero percent of the population living under the international poverty line of U.S. $1.25 a day. So, why is the Monaco poverty rate zero? This feat is not accomplished easily; it is a combination of ideal conditions that have propelled Monaco to achieve its flawless poverty rate.

The Principality of Monaco is situated in the west of Europe along the French Riviera and bordered by France and the Mediterranean Sea. Monaco is aptly named a principality because its monarch takes the title of prince or princess. The current Prince of Monaco is Prince Albert III, who continues the Grimaldi family reign of more than 700 years.

This country is known for its beautiful surroundings and coastline, which helps draw a wealthy population, but its size plays an important role in the economy as well. Monaco is the second-smallest country in the world, after the Vatican City. It is a tiny two-square kilometers in size and the most densely-populated country in the world.

The number of residents this country can support is limited and its picturesque landscape draws people from around the world. Monaco is home to 30,645 residents. Only 16 percent of the residents are Monegasque (natives of Monaco), the majority is French and the rest come from nearby countries and outside. While Monaco’s size tightens the population, its economic strength adds additional incentives for residents.

Monaco’s current economy was strengthened by the historic decisions of Prince Charles III, known as the founder of Monte Carlo. Charles III ensured Monaco’s economic strength by taking advantage of gambling laws to build the Socièté des Bains de Mer, a company of a few hotels, a theater and a casino in 1863. The Monte Carlo casino became the most famous of these assets.

When gambling was banned elsewhere, the casino became a vacation of choice for the worlds wealthy, drawing in thousands of tourists. Charles the III also forged an agreement with France to install the first railroad across the principality as infrastructure to support the growing tourism market. Charles III attracted additional foreign investments when he established a zero income tax.

Why is the Monaco poverty rate zero? Tax incentives, location and the international popularity of Monte Carlo secured Monaco’s popularity with the wealthy and ignited the country’s tourism industry. Today, one-third of Monaco’s population makes more than $1 million to the point that Monaco’s GNI per capita is $186,080, the highest in the world.

Interestingly much of the working class in Monaco does not actually live there. Daily, more than 30,000 French and 5,800 Italian nationals travel to Monaco to work. This lends to the enormity of the private sector industries, which account for 86 percent of the labor force in Monaco. Monaco has developed into a destination for research centers, and 22 percent of the labor force works in scientific and technical activities, including administration and support services. The tourism industry accounts for 11 percent of the country’s economy, and the gaming industry 4 percent. The prince also guarantees all of the residents life-long employment, so there is nearly zero unemployment.

Monaco has the ideal combination of geographic, economic and residential dynamics to allow and support a zero percent poverty rate. The size of the country limits the amount of habitable space the country can offer and the landscape and world-renowned events like the Grand Prix give rise to millionaire inhabitants. The fiscal qualifications for residents in Monaco are set by the real estate prices while tax incentives provide a desirable buffer. Monaco builds its wealth on the investment of the worlds wealthy and maintains it through value-added tax revenues from established businesses. These factors have propelled Monaco’s reputation as the land of the millionaires and give insight into the Monaco poverty rate being zero.

Eliza Gresh

Photo: Pixabay

Slovakia Poverty RateSlovakia is a country that tends to get overlooked when considering global poverty. While media entities and NGOs focus on African and Asian nations, eastern European countries like Slovakia do not normally make headlines.

The story behind the Slovakia poverty rate, however, is worth discussing. With the 2015 figures coming in at 12.3 percent, according to the CIA World Factbook, this number should be scrutinized.

Since its separation from the Czech Republic in 1993, Slovakia has had an odd growth experience. In the last 13 years, for example, Slovakia’s poverty rate has cycled between 13.3 percent and 10.6 percent, according to the World Bank. The CIA World Factbook’s 2015 figure of 12.3 percent shows a slow decrease following the 2011 peak of 13.2 percent, which was the second of two peaks over the last 13 years.

To be clear, the fact that the Slovakia poverty rate is decreasing is a good thing. The country’s low-cost labor force has made it an attractive hub for foreign investment in central Europe in recent years. According to OECD, Slovakia’s GDP growth rate is projected to be 4.1 percent, which is a respectable number for any country and outpaces many economic powers like the United States.

The question that remains, though, is whether or not this advancement, and particularly the decrease in the Slovakia poverty rate, is sustainable. The upward trend in the Slovakia poverty rate from 10.6 percent in 2006 to 13.2 percent in 2011 could be an anomaly due to the 2008 financial crisis. With an economy highly based on labor that focuses itself on volatile industries such as energy, Slovakia must diversify its economy if it wishes to continue its recent economic growth.

It will be interesting to see how Slovakia develops as the country pulls itself out of poverty, unemployment and the like. Whether or not this recent growth is truly sustainable remains to be seen, but there are high hopes for the young country.

John Mirandette

Oman Poverty Rate

The dichotomy of the Middle East region in terms of wealth and quality of life is one that truly boggles the mind. One need not search very far to learn of the tragedies that have befallen countries like Iraq, Syria, and Libya in the 21st century. The war-torn images of these countries are sketched into the collective Western mind. Simultaneously, countries like Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar are home to some of the world’s greatest cities, fabulous wealth and futuristic-looking technologies.

What often goes unnoticed are the countries that fall somewhere in the middle; ones that are not ravaged by war nor blessed with a plethora of natural resources such as oil. The Sultanate of Oman is one such example.

Poverty is a fact of life for many Middle Eastern countries, but Oman is one of the bright spots in the region in terms of poverty reduction and efforts to elevate the quality of life of its citizens. The Oman poverty rate has been on the decline in the last decade and shows signs that it will continue to do so.

Oman created a national strategy in 1970 to spur development in all aspects of life in the country. At that time, Oman had almost no formal education system; by 1999, over 70 percent of children were in primary school. Moreover, in 1970, the life expectancy at birth was near 51 years; that has increased to 78 in 2014, an almost 53 percent increase, which outpaced the world average in the same time frame by 30 percent. Oman’s poverty rate has been reduced significantly because of these improvements.

Since 2000, Oman has reached eight of its Millennium Development Goals, most notably in providing education for all, including women and children, as well as reducing the number of people suffering from extreme hunger.

Entrepreneurial activity is also on the rise in Oman, sponsored mainly by Startup Oman, a Muscat-based fund that facilitates and promotes young Omani entrepreneurs. This fund aims to reduce poverty while simultaneously encouraging creativity in the economy.

The fishing town of Duqm is being radically transformed, thanks in large part to Chinese investments, into one of the country’s central economic hubs. This has boosted employment and spurred economic activity, providing economic opportunities for Omanis.

Even amid a geopolitical spat between other Gulf countries, Omani ports are benefiting from an unusual uptick in traffic, which has resulted in increased economic activity for Omani businesses and workers. While Oman may not want to be seen as profiting from the current row, it will likely solidify its position as a neutral arbiter in regional disputes, as it has for decades. This trend, in tandem with a reduction in Oman’s poverty rate, will allow it to establish itself as a peaceful and prosperous nation in the region.

The combination of government initiatives, foreign investment and an educated population has allowed Oman to improve the lives of its citizens, which is worthy of high praise considering the situation facing other countries in the Middle East.

As long as the government continues to focus on reducing the Oman poverty rate, the Sultanate will surely establish itself as a bright spot in the Middle East.

Daniel Cavins

Photo: Flickr

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Poverty Rate
The nation of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is both small and beautiful, made up of 32 islands and landforms in the south Caribbean. It is known mainly as a peaceful island destination: a place to swim, snorkel and enjoy the view. Yet despite this reputation, the country is struggling to support its own population. Even taking into consideration recent economic improvements, the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines poverty rate remains shockingly high: as of 2008, 30.2 percent of the population was living in poverty.

This already disturbing rate is relatively low in comparison to that of 1996, when the rate was even higher, at 37.5 percent. While the country’s GDP has grown steadily since the 1980s, particularly thanks to the construction industry and the “banana boom” of the ’80s, trade access for the country’s most important crop, bananas, has been waning ever since and the national debt has only grown. As of 2009, the debt was roughly 60 percent of the GDP.

This lack of economic activity in addition to trade difficulty has led to high rates of both unemployment and underemployment, with many citizens turning away from traditional employment and to the underground market, such as growing and selling marijuana.

Though the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines poverty rate has dropped in recent years, many people feel the opposite effect. In 2008, 44.3 percent of citizens polled felt that conditions had worsened compared to previous years, perhaps to due to the rise of food and fuel prices around the same time.

In addition to economic difficulties, the people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines suffer from a lack of health coverage. In 2008, only 9.4 percent of the population was covered by health insurance, and coverage is still rare even among the wealthiest in the nation. Teen pregnancy, meanwhile, is extremely common, with half of the country’s women reporting their first pregnancy before the age of 19. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has long had a plan to put a national health insurance program into place, but the plan has experienced countless delays, and as of 2017, the plan has yet to be enacted.

Though the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines poverty rate looks grim, the country intends to take steps to remedy it. First on lawmaker’s minds is diversification and expansion of the economy, which would ensure that the country’s economy would not rely on bananas alone. Other key projects include paying off the national debt, expansion of national infrastructure and developing a health care system. These are no small feats to accomplish, but the country is committed to helping its citizens.

Audrey Palzkill

Djibouti, a small country wedged in the horn of Africa has had a long history of economic instability and poverty. In the last decade, the country boasted some of its highest poverty rates, however, after 2007, the Djibouti poverty rate finally started to decline.

In 2007, when the Djibouti poverty rate saw its first significant spike downwards, it was recorded at 42 percent. Now, with the buffer from aid organizations and economic help from foreign financing and foreign direct investments, Djibouti has successfully lowered its poverty rate to about 18.8 percent. This rate is a tremendous achievement as the last two decades the poverty rate has fallen about 30 percent.

Following its 2007 rate, the Djibouti poverty rate had dropped to 23 percent by 2013 and then to about 18.8 percent currently.

In 2011, Djibouti’s population reached 820,000. Unfortunately, most of the population were living in extreme poverty. The common causes of poverty in the country were consecutive years of drought, loss of livestock, destruction of crops, malnutrition and unemployment.

The little resources the natives did have were stretched thin for the influx of refugees from neighboring Somalia, where refugees were estimated at 15,000 and growing.

With resources quickly being depleted and food and fuel prices rising, organizations such as the U.N., the World Food Programme, UNICEF, the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Health Organisation raised approximately $20 million for food, drought relief, water rehabilitation and mobile health units.

With poverty rates falling, Djibouti has seen increases in its GDP, industrial production growth rate and labor force. The GDP in 2016 was reported at $3.34 billion, an increase of $200 million from 2015, while the industrial production growth rate rose to 4.7 percent in 2016, ranking it 40 in the world.

Although the country still experiences a relatively high percentage of poverty and unemployment, the Djibouti poverty rate has successfully fallen and will continue to fall with help from foreign countries.

Amira Wynn