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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

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