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10 Facts About Life Expectancy in Lithuania
With strong connections to the Nordic countries of Northern Europe and the European Union, the Republic of Lithuania is located at the shores of the Baltic Seas in Europe. The nation has an intriguing history: while maintaining independence since 1990, Lithuania has also been occupied by foreign powers for many years out of the last two centuries.

Lithuania has an extremely high quality of life under a stable democratic system. This may be connected to continental trade through the E.U.’s free movement agreement and global security through N.A.T.O membership. Despite experiencing stability and growth, life expectancy in Lithuania has seen several fluctuations; even after a decade of continuous growth, it remains below average for the area. Here are 10 facts about life expectancy in Lithuania.

10 Facts About Life Expectancy in Lithuania

  1. The current life expectancy in Lithuania is 74.6 years. Compared to other European Union nations, who average at 84 years, life expectancy in Lithuania is nearly a decade shorter. The nation also remains below the average of its immediate neighbors in Central Europe and the rest of the Baltics, who have a life expectancy of 77 years. Further, Lithuania lands just above the world average of 72 years.
  2. Life expectancy in Lithuania has had a chaotic trend over the last 70 years. In the 1990s, economic fallout and loss of life caused by riots and chaos during the independence movement led to a low life expectancy rate of 68.5 years in 1994. Since then, however, life expectancy growth rates have more or less stabilized. Lithuanian life expectancy currently shows little sign that the upward trend will change for the worse.
  3. The population of Lithuania has decreased since independence. Having peaked at 3.7 million citizens in 1991, the population has steadily declined. Today, the country is inhabited by 2.79 million people, due to the country’s high death rate of 15 deaths per 1000 people, which results in a negative population growth rate of 1 percent. Furthermore, the emigration of the general populace towards Western Europe has only aided Lithuanian population loss.
  4. Life expectancy in Lithuania has increased at a slower rate than the rest of the world. Lithuanian life expectancy has increased by 8.35 percent from 1986 to 2017. Comparatively, the rest of the world’s life expectancy average has increased by 25.1 percent. Despite the human development index ranking of 34th in the world for development, it is possible high suicide rates in Lithuania substantially influence life expectancy. Unfortunately, the nation has the highest suicide rate in the world at an average of 26 suicides per 100,000 people.
  5. High Lithuanian suicide rates have gained national attention. Having such high suicide rates is clearly a major contributor to the nation’s lowered life expectancies and high death rate. Certain areas of the country are reaching rates of 71.9 deaths per 100,000 people. Subsequently, this has been the focus of intense national efforts. The government has been pursuing support through organizations such as the National Suicide Prevention Strategy; additionally, N.G.O. ‘s like the World Health Organization has supported Lithuania in suicide reduction efforts. As a result, suicide rates have reduced by nearly 15 percent between 2010 to 2016.
  6. Gender disparity is still relevant to suicide rates in Lithuania. On average, men typically live to be 69.2 years while women live to be 79.7 years. Social conditions play a role in this, as men are more heavily affected by the patriarchal norms that drive them into more dangerous work environments. As a result of the intense stress, the suicide rate in men is at heights far above the rate for women.
  7. Lithuanian suicide rates are the result of a complex series of social conditions. As one of the external driving factors behind lowered life expectancy in Lithuania, suicide rates are key as it is affecting all strata of society in the nation. There are various factors besides gender disparity that influences the inclination to commit suicide. One factor is extremely high alcohol consumption, where one in three men report high alcohol intake. Additionally, Lithuania has poor mental health facilities, creating an environment where it is difficult to seek adequate help. Finally, the legacy of historical suicide ideation plays a part in this figure as well.
  8. Biological causes are also a key part of life expectancy in Lithuania. The most considerable influence on life expectancy from biological causes is cardiovascular disease. Thirty-four percent of all deaths in 2017 were due to cardiovascular disease, which is linked to the high rates of obesity in the country. Above 60 percent of the adult population of Lithuania is overweight; obesity is directly linked to poor cardiovascular health and a higher risk of stroke, which is the second-highest cause of death in Lithuania.
  9. Unhealthy diets and low physical activity levels are the primary causes of obesity in Lithuania. The obesity problem affecting life expectancy in Lithuania is the result of a number of factors, crucial amongst them being low rates of physical exercise and unhealthy diets. Only 10.1 percent of the population reported committing to minimal exercise in 2010. Adjunctly, Lithuania’s diet surveys reveal that upwards of 13.2 percent of caloric intake comes from saturated fats; Medline Plus states that saturated fat intake should be less than 10 percent for a healthy diet. However, the government continues efforts to tackle obesity by encouraging exercise among adults and implementing food and drug protocols to reduce unhealthy food consumption.
  10. Health spending in the country is amongst the lowest in the European Union. Public health spending is currently at 6.5 percent of the GDP and remains the sixth-lowest in the European Union. At double the E.U. average, 32 percent of all health spending is privately funded, mostly coming from pharmaceutical expenditures. This means that citizens are forced to spend personal funds on acquiring medication that is often quite expensive. Although, spending has increased from 5.6 percent of GDP in 2005 to 6.5 percent in 2015. Despite this gradual increase, greater strides are necessary for the health system to match the rest of the E.U. and begin increasing overall life expectancy in Lithuania.

These 10 facts about life expectancy in Lithuania outline that despite its tremendous human development index and growing economy, the general health and overall lifespan of the nation’s population are quite poor. Further, the issue is not being addressed as effectively as it could be. Life expectancy in Lithuania could be improved by improved government programming and initiatives. Specifically, the implementation of effective mental health systems would greatly impact public health. Another solution would be to execute physical preventative care, such as exercise infrastructure, to increase public health.

Neil Singh
Photo: Pixabay

Human Rights in LithuaniaThe Republic of Lithuania is located west of Russia along the Baltic Sea. 3.3 million people live in this 65,300 square km country. Historic changes have taken place in just one generation.

Lithuania had been occupied by Russia since 1940, but regained its independence in 1991 following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Thirteen years later, in 2004, Lithuania joined NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and the EU (European Union).

This country has seen a lot of political change in the past 25 years. A new constitution in 1992 presented a new form of government for Lithuania, including a presidency.

However, despite advancements, there are still problems with human rights in Lithuania. The government and people of this Baltic country are working hard to improve human rights, but there are still four notable areas of concern.

1. Children’s welfare
The 2016 Human Rights Report on Lithuania stated that “despite a multi-year effort to combat violence against children, many problems continued.” The Council of Europe Commissioner of Human Services, Nils Muižnieks, plans on reducing child abuse and harm in Lithuania by “implementing the law banning all forms of violence against children through a coordinated strategy and effective and independent monitoring.”

One area that can be improved is the country’s child hotline. It was reported that in the first eight months of 2015, the hotline received over 421,000 calls but was only able to respond to 192. This lack of resources and funding is a serious issue that results in injuries to and sometimes deaths of children.

Another issue that needs to be addressed is the number of institutionalized and displaced children in Lithuania. There are close to 100 orphanages in the country, which house about 4,000 orphans as of 2015. It is an important goal for Lithuanian government officials and NGOs to improve the orphanage system, because many institutionalized children’s issues stem from their time without a family in these temporary homes.

2. Domestic violence
According to the 2016 Human Rights report, in Lithuania, “rape and domestic violence are criminal offenses” and are dealt with according to the degree of harm done to the victim.

Domestic violence is one of the biggest human rights issues in Lithuania. Although there have been efforts to stop it, violence still continues. “In the first eight months of the year, police received 33,453 domestic violence calls and started 6,718 pretrial investigations, including 24 for murder.”

Compared to the United States’ 20,000 calls a day for rape or domestic violence, Lithuania’s numbers may not seem substantial. However, when people are being harmed, any number is significant and needs to be addressed.

3. Discrimination against minorities
Human rights in Lithuania in regard to discrimination against minorities are a very prevalent issue. Whether it is a mentally disabled person or a Jewish person, discrimination occurs against various minority groups in Lithuania.

People with disabilities are among the groups that face the worst discrimination in Lithuania. Some rights that have been known to be unequal for disabled people include “inaccessibility, forced hospitalization, human rights violations in closed institutions and psychiatric wards, restrictions on the right to vote and an inadequate mental health system, which remained among the least reformed areas in the health sector.”

Jews also have a history of discrimination in Lithuania. Recent research has shown that between January and April of 2016, 90 Jewish people who applied for passports were rejected, compared to only 20 non-Jewish applicants rejected.

However, like most human rights issues in Lithuania, the government is working to improve the situation. About $14.3 million was put aside between 2013 and 2019 to be spent by the Department of Affairs of the Disabled.

4. Inhumane treatment of prisoners
Conditions in some prisons and detention facilities remain sub-standard. There have been credible allegations of inadequate access to hygiene products, poor sanitary conditions such as filthy blankets and mattresses, poor food and inferior medical care.

Some improvements have been made, though. “Between January and September, the government spent approximately 364,000 euros ($400,000) on the renovation of seven prison facilities.” With more aid and support, these prisons and detention centers can become healthy and safe places.

Sydney Missigman

Photo: Flickr


Since August 2015, more than one million refugees have entered the EU, many of them fleeing conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Under block rules, refugees faced relocation to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. As these countries are among the poorest in the European Union, refugees relocated to Lithuania are fleeing elsewhere out of fear of starvation. Here are ten facts about refugees in Lithuania.

10 Facts About Refugees in Lithuania

  1. Through the EU relocation plan, refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq have been sent to live in Lithuania, a small country on the Baltic Sea, north of Poland.
  2. While Lithuania is home to less than three million people, it has a quota of about 1,100 refugees to take in within two years. So far, there have been around 90 refugees sent there. Lithuania’s interior minister Tomas Zilinskas noted that even the small number of accepted refugees in Lithuania faced opposition by half of the country’s citizens.
  3. As benefits in Lithuania are already extremely limited, a refugee family of four receives €450 a month for half a year, after which the payment halves.
  4. A whopping 72 out of 90 of those granted refugee status in Lithuania have left. Many refugees claim living in a refugee center somewhere else is better than life in the Baltic States. As Mohamed Kamel Haj Ali, a refugee sent to Lithuania said: “The ones who left for Germany said they left Syria out of fear of death from bombs, but here they feared they would die from hunger.”
  5. EU rules dictate that refugees are to be forbidden from work or to claim refuge in other member states. Some destroy their identification documents before leaving Lithuania, hoping to claim asylum in richer countries amidst Western Europe.
  6. Refugees in Lithuania struggle to find work due to an insufficient amount of jobs available. As NPR’s Corey Flintoff states, “Lithuania cannot supply enough jobs for its own citizens. Hundreds of thousands of them have had to find work in other countries. Still, Lithuania’s current government considers it an obligation to do its part to help solve the migrant crisis among its fellow EU members.”
  7. After the discovery of a new route through Lithuania’s eastern border, a gateway into Western Europe allows refugees in to enter the country. Renatas Pozela, acting commander of the Lithuanian State Border Guard Service, states, “We are also seeing constant attempts to open new corridors [to Europe], mostly by Syrian and Iraqi refugees who are trying to reach Scandinavian countries.”
  8. While Lithuania joined the EU in 2004, its population has shrunk 12 percent to 2.9 million people over the past decade, as refugees and citizens alike flee in search of higher wages and better job availability.
  9. As Lithuania continues to depopulate, refugees help to sustain local businesses, such as a barber shop operated by Vilius Leveris.  Leveris finds most new staff for his barber shop in the refugee hostel. Since Leveris opened his business four years ago, he has taken on 12 employees from Turkey, Libya, Syria, Morocco and Colombia. Leveris states, “I couldn’t find anyone here. Even getting a wet shave is a completely new thing… Now, if a refugee who was a barber at home arrives in Lithuania, the refugee center calls me at once.”
  10. Ilmars Latkovskis, head of the Latvian parliament’s Citizenship, Migration, and Social Cohesion Committee, said to make staying in Lithuania feasible for refugees, it was necessary to have benefits increased “to a level which would be very unpleasant for our population, which is not that well-off.”

These were ten facts about refugees in Lithuania. It is evident from the significant number of refugees in Lithuania fleeing the country, as well as the other neighboring Baltic nations, many areas within the European Union need assistance in their efforts to aid refugees worldwide.

Kendra Richardson

Photo: Flickr

5 Facts About Top Diseases in Lithuania
Lithuania is a fairly small European country with a population of about 2.8 million as of 2016. Despite its size, Lithuania still subject to several major infectious diseases. Since its 2008 financial crisis, Lithuania has recovered significantly and has become one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union. However, despite such impressive development in recent years, finding adequate treatments and solutions to the top diseases in Lithuania remains a challenge.

What are the top diseases in Lithuania?

  1. Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is a vector-borne disease involving the central nervous system, which is acquired through the bite of an infected arthropod. The disease often manifests as meningitis, encephalitis or meningoencephalitis.
  2. Meningococcal meningitis is a bacterial disease causing an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. Bacteria are transmitted from person to person by respiratory droplets and close contact from crowded living conditions.
  3. According to the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 (GBD 2010), ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and self-harm were the highest ranking causes of premature death in Lithuania in terms of the number of years of life lost (YLLs).
  4. The risk factors that account for top diseases in Lithuania are dietary risks, high blood pressure and alcohol use. The leading risk factors for children under five and adults aged 15-49 years were iron deficiencies and alcohol use in 2010.
  5. In a 2014 Country Profile conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) on noncommunicable diseases, proportional mortality (percent of total deaths, all ages, both sexes) is divided as follows:
    – 54 percent cardiovascular diseases;
    – 20 percent cancers;
    – 12 percent other NCDs;
    – Eight percent injuries;
    – Three percent communicable, maternal, perinatal and nutritional conditions;
    – Two percent chronic respiratory diseases;
    – One percent diabetes.

Recognizing and understanding the state of people and society in Lithuania in regards to their health and well-being provides key insight into public health successes, as well as areas where additional assistance and improved conditions and resources are needed.

Mikaela Frigillana

Photo: Flickr

Brain Drain
Brain drain is a rampant epidemic detrimentally impacting developing nations across the earth. As a result, businesses and political figures are making fantastic efforts to reverse brain drains on both a national and global level.

What is Brain Drain and Why is it Happening?

According to Merriam-Webster, brain drain is defined as, “a situation in which many educated or professional people leave a particular place or profession and move to another one that gives them better pay or living conditions.”

The term brain drain was first coined around the 1960s when Great Britain experienced a high percentage of British scientists and intellectuals leaving the country to find better careers in the U.S.

Since then, many other countries such as Greece, Lithuania and a number of African nations have experienced brain drain at an alarming rate.

The Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine reports that brain drain stems from a wide range of economic, social and political conditions. Most of these conditions are observed in developing countries where the careers of citizens are stifled from issues such as poverty, political instability and lack of technology.

These conditions make developed countries more attractive to those with a degree or a specialized skill. Countries such as the U.S., Canada and the U.K. have been gaining a significant amount of doctors and nurses from abroad.

Migration Abroad

In 2006, the U.S. received roughly 213,331 doctors and 99,456 nurses from abroad. Research from the WHO estimated that brain drain resulted in a global shortage of 4.3 million healthcare workers. Countries experiencing brain drain lose educated working-class employees by anywhere from thousands to hundreds of thousands of workers.

In just 2011 alone, Lithuania reported 54,000 migrating to find work in the U.K. The continent of Africa loses one in nine university graduates to Western nations. In addition, Greece estimated that 160,000 to 180,000 college graduates have left the country for better opportunities.

Though developed countries can benefit from receiving these educated migrants, the sheer amount of incoming, educated people can overwhelmingly disadvantage various sectors within developing countries.

However, there is hope to reverse brain drain as seen from the efforts of nations such as Lithuania, the UAE and many African countries.

Lithuania

Business leaders and government officials in Lithuania are combating brain drain through a series of university mergers. University mergers are when multiple universities unify in order to foster stronger university brands. The plan is that these university mergers will attract current citizens and international students to study in Lithuania.

Marius Skuodis, a former citizen of Lithuania, has returned to his country because of the new opportunities provided within the university mergers. He plans on pursuing his PhD at Vilnius University, despite having to accept a lower salary.

Skuodis is quoted saying that, “Lithuania offered me career opportunities I could not expect in the UK.”

UAE

The UAE has also made gallant strides in turning brain drain into a brain gain. The UAE is a nation that suffered from brain drain as well as high levels of violence for numerous years.

Recently, businesses have made tremendous efforts in the UAE to improve the quality of life for workers and residents. These efforts have turned the UAE into a thriving nation with one of the highest standards of living for citizens in the world.

Africa

In Africa, reports indicate that brain drain has slowed substantially within the continent. A study in 2014 from South Africa’s Adcorp, stated that 359,000 highly skilled South African workers had returned to work in their countries of origin.

Economists have noted that this accomplishment was possible due to the policies that governments and businesses have put in place in order to encourage workers to come back home.

Finding a solution to reducing brain drain is no easy feat, as it requires both businesses and governments to coincide with one another to tackle the issue at hand. Businesses and corporate leaders need to implement solutions to create more job opportunities with quality benefits for those with desired skills.

Governments need to strive for policy changes that encourage workers to return to their countries. However, if governments and businesses can work together to make substantial legislation changes, many nations may follow suit and reverse their brain drain into a brain gain.

Shannon Warren

Photo: Flickr

7 Facts: The Focus on Slowing Poverty In Lithuania
Lithuania is one of the three European Baltic States and also a new addition to the Eurozone. While the country faces a serious problem with rural poverty, recent indicators and initiatives suggest that Lithuania is a country on the rise.

  1. Lithuania is a high-income country. Lithuania is considered a high-income country by the World Bank. Its GNI per capita, total income claimed by residents divided by the population, is about $15,000 per year. This is significantly higher than that of Russia ($11000) but less than half of the average in the EU which stands at $34000.
  2. Very few people in Lithuania are desperately poor. Extreme or desperate poverty isn’t common in Lithuania, less than one percent of the population lives on less than one dollar a day.
  3. Poverty in Lithuania is widespread but shallow. While very few Lithuanians are extremely poor, many live in moderate poverty. Lithuania’s poverty line is set at LTL 811 ($265), and around 20 percent of the population lives below this measure.
  4. Poverty is centered in rural areas. One-third of the population live in rural areas, with half of the population employed in agriculture.
  5. Lithuania has a transitioning economy. In 2015, it became the 19th economy to use the euro. The economy of Lithuania seems to be shifting towards a knowledge-based one, as information and communication technologies are its fastest-growing sectors. However, after being hit incredibly hard by the recession in 2008, the growth of the economy has slowed in recent years.
  6. Lithuania has comparatively low unemployment and inequality levels. Despite the relatively high poverty rate in Lithuania, other development indicators like unemployment and income inequality are somewhat low. Unemployment stands at 8 percent, which is lower than in France or Italy, and the World Bank’s income inequality indicator, the GINI index, suggests that Lithuania has higher income equality than the U.S., and is comparable to that of Canada.

The EU plans to invest heavily over the next few years. The EU plans to invest $7 billion in aid to Lithuania by 2020, with the main focus on infrastructure. Other major points of investment are in renewable energy and quality employment. With continuing economic growth and help from the EU, poverty numbers may be driven down in the coming years.

John English

Photo: Flickr

Ethical Vacation Destinations
Recently becoming the world’s largest industry, travel is one of the hottest commodities on the market. With a trillion-dollar annual footprint, the travel business has major economic and political power. However, not all destinations are created equal. Where you, as a traveler, choose to journey can either encourage best practice behavior from mindful countries, or support the harmful tourist industries of their irresponsible counterparts.

Ethical Traveler is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that seeks to use tourism to protect human rights and the environment. Every year, Ethical Traveler compiles a list of 10 developing countries with vibrant tourism industries that will put your traveling expenses to good use.

The countries that made the list are those that scored best in the categories of support of human rights, preservation of the environment, social welfare and animal welfare. According to Ethical Traveler, “Each country selected as a Best Ethical Destination also offers the opportunity to experience unspoiled natural beauty, and to interact with local people and cultures in a meaningful, mutually enriching way.”

This year’s winners may surprise you; the majority of these unusual destinations are off the beaten path, but promise an outstanding vacation with values you can feel good about. Here are the 10 most ethical vacation destinations.

The Bahamas

These islands prioritize conservation and sustainability, as shown by the efforts to establish new Marine Protected Areas and the expansion of a number of protected acres in a major National Park. The Bahamas made great strides to combat human trafficking this year, with the first prosecution under human trafficking law.

Barbados

Cited by Ethical Traveler as a “best practice model for the Caribbean,” Barbados promotes sustainable tourism while protecting its coastline. The child mortality rate in Barbados is particularly low, and this nation received the highest possible score in the categories of Political Rights and Civil Liberties –higher even than some developed countries.

Cape Verde

This country has the goal of making energy 100 percent renewable over the next two decades. Cape Verde is also an outstanding example of an African country with stellar attention to political and civil rights, with laws that prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, and holding its first Gay Pride Week this year — the second to take place in all of Africa.

Dominica

This island boasts unspoiled forests and native species. An emphasis on protecting wildlife includes the preservation of native frog and iguana populations, along with a valiant effort to save endemic mountain chickens, which only inhabit two islands in the world. Dominica has expanded solar power across the island, and has the goal of being energy-independent and carbon negative by 2020.

Latvia

Of the winning destinations, Latvia scored the highest in environmental protection. This nation has been acknowledged as one of the top performers in the world in both environmental public health and ecosystem vitality. Not only does this country have a pristine environmental record, it is the highest ranked of the 10 countries in gender equality.

Lithuania

Like Latvia, Lithuania is a leader in environmental and animal protection. Lithuania made strides in social welfare this year by reaching it’s Millennium Development Goal for under 5 mortality rate, which has dropped by a whopping 52 percent since 2000.

Mauritius

This year Mauritius announced an impressive renewable energy goal, aiming for 35 percent renewable use over the next two decades. The U.N. praised Mauritius for having made ‘substantial progress’ in social welfare this year, due to their improvements in property rights and labor freedom.

Palau

In Palau, 28.2 percent of precious marine and terrestrial area is protected – the highest percentage out of all the countries on this list. Press freedom in Palau is impressive; this country prides itself on exemplary freedom of press for a developing country.

Uruguay

Uruguay is in the process of building 21 wind farms, and is working toward the goal of 90 percent renewable electricity by 2015. Uruguay dominates the category of human rights, with laws passed this year allowing marriage equality and the legalization of steps toward ending unsafe abortions. This country’s equality ranking was second only to Chile.

By visiting the destinations on this list, travelers can reward developing countries for their promotion of sustainable tourism and ethical laws. The additional economic support from tourism will allow these nations to continue improving their countries, and protect the valuable natural resources that make them such appealing places to explore.

Grace Flaherty 

Sources: BBC 1, BBC 2, Ethical Traveler
Photo: BBC

How the Government of Lithuania is Bettering the Lives of its PoorWhen one thinks of poverty-stricken countries, the first one that comes to mind is not Lithuania. The small Baltic nation, however, has been dealing with serious poverty problems since it became independent in the early 1990s. Lithuania was, in fact, the first republic to break away from the USSR in 1990. In 2009, the economy took a turn for the worse. GDP dropped 15%, interrupting almost two decades of steady fiscal growth. Nonetheless, the recession did not fatally injure the Lithuanian economy. The resilient nation recovered quickly, enlisting the investment of foreign interests in Lithuanian enterprises while capitalizing on the strength of trade relations with Russia, Latvia, and Germany, among other countries.

Lithuania’s seemingly instantaneous recovery from the recession is amazing, especially considering the extremity of the economic downturn in the Baltic states. Her ability to exploit chief exports such as textiles, plastics, and heavy machinery has given the country the diversified type of income that facilitates longterm budgetary growth. What truly sets Lithuania apart though is the shocking rise in the minimum wage that took place last year. In 2012, the monthly minimum wage was raised almost 25% from around 850 litai ($850 US dollars) in January to 1000 litai ($372 US dollars) in December. This has significantly raised the status of the poor in Lithuania, where a measly 4% of the population is now living below the poverty line. Prior to 2009, a little over 20% of Lithuanians were on or below the poverty line, unable to meet basic daily needs.

This change illustrates the way in which a government, faced with insurmountable challenges, can institute economic policies that positively impact the well-being of the working poor. When compared to its neighbor Latvia, where the monthly salary from a minimum wage job does not fulfill minimum subsistence level requirements, Lithuania is doing significantly better. Lithuania did not allow the economic crisis to distract from the problem of the minimum wage, implementing sound laws to raise the status of the poor. In the wake of the global recession, other Baltic countries should follow the example of Lithuania and raise the minimum wage. The poor will be much better off for it.

– Josh Forgét

Sources: The Baltic Course, Bloomberg, CIA World Factbook
Photo: Flickr