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

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

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

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

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

Lucy Voegeli

Photo: Flickr

Moldova Poverty Rate
One might imagine that because Moldova is part of Europe, it would be prosperous. However, Eastern Europe is far different from Western Europe; Eastern Europe is much poorer, with Moldova’s poverty rate among the highest.

The reason for this has to do with the collapse of the Soviet Union. When the Soviet Union fell, the people of what is now Moldova came together to create their own government. However, this proposition was riddled with challenges:

  • Previously, no government ruled the land, which meant that the leaders needed to set up the government first, with all its bureaucratic departments, which also made the writing of Moldova’s constitution difficult.
  • Because of the former Soviet Union, it was difficult for the people to find leaders that were not corrupt.
  • Finally, the change from a communist to a capitalist market caused chaos, affecting the production of produce. This gave the country a difficult start, and officials did not have the time (or the resources) to map out Moldova’s poverty rate until 2003. Since then, Moldova’s poverty rate rose to an all-time high of about 30% in 2006.

The World Bank Group, based in Washington, DC, stands at the forefront of reducing this number. With a multitude of different projects, the group gives out loans to developing countries around the world. This has helped tremendously, not only with Moldova’s GDP but also with Moldova’s poverty rate. Eight years after the all-time high of 30% of people living under the poverty line, the number had reduced to only 11.4% in 2014.

However, the country still has a long way to go before poverty becomes an issue of the past. Just in 2014, the National Bank uncovered a corruption scandal; the equivalent of $1 billion (12.5% of the country’s GDP) was stolen, causing an economic recession.

Although the country recovered within two years, the scandal, as well as recent political events, indicates Moldova’s state of security. This will need to be addressed if the country will continue to grow economically.

Michal Burgunder

Photo: Pixabay

Diseases in Moldova
The Republic of Moldova is a parliamentary republic that has implemented an ambitious economic reform program. Agriculture dominates the economy, and the country depends on imports for energy needs. Moldova remains the poorest country in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) European region, although it has made significant progress in economic growth. It had an estimated per capita gross national income of $1810 USD in 2010, according to the World Bank. Life expectancy estimates are two to five years higher than the other countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Most deaths are a result of diseases in Moldova. Both communicable and noncommunicable diseases have been increasing steadily since the country’s independence in 1991.

The most common causes of death in the country are circulatory system diseases, followed by cancer and digestive system diseases. Most of the deaths caused by diseases in Moldova are related to heavy alcohol and tobacco use, although chronic liver disease and cirrhosis rates have decreased over the last five years.

Key challenges in the fight against diseases in Moldova also include HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. The prevalence of tuberculosis has been rising since 1990 and has more than doubled to date, reaching 182 per 100,000 people. The most dramatic rate increase is in children.

The deadliest risk factors for diseases in Moldova are dietary risks, high systolic blood pressure and high body mass index. Lesser risks include tobacco smoke, alcohol and drug use and high fasting plasma glucose.

While Moldova has quite a bit of work to do, being number one in death rates due to liver diseases, number five in prostatic hypertrophy and number seven in both coronary heart disease and congenital anomalies, it is on the road to better lives for its citizens. It is pushing to reduce poverty, with many Millennium Development Goals being developed and maintained. The country is also working to develop agricultural sustainability and many different ways of importing medicine and products that will help with rates of diseases in Moldova.

Rilee Pickle

Photo: Flickr

Hunger in Moldova
Situated between Romania and Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova remains one of the poorest countries in Europe. With an economy that relies heavily on agriculture, the Moldovan people are especially vulnerable to floods and droughts, which often bring more hunger to the country. Here are ten facts about hunger in Moldova:

1. Of the country’s roughly 3.5 million people, 20.8 percent live below the poverty line. While high, this is an improvement, as the poverty rate was 70 percent in 2000.

2. In order to make ends meet, many Moldovans move abroad to work and send money back home. Forty percent of the working-age population work abroad, and remittances, or the money they send back to their home country, make up 30 percent of Moldova’s GDP.

3. After the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, agricultural practices changed drastically, cutting production in half. This was devastating for Moldova since agriculture is a huge part of the country’s economy, making up one-fifth of its GDP.

4. Poorer families often struggle to afford nutritious food. A third of children under the age of five, as well as half of the pregnant women, suffer from anemia. This is especially prevalent in rural families.

5. A severe drought in 2007 worsened hunger in Moldova as 96 percent of families experienced production losses. As a result, a third of households were in debt in order to meet food needs, with poor families spending half of their income on food.

6. Climate change is also a threat to food security in Moldova, due to changes in the agricultural landscape. “The rural poor will be disproportionately affected because of their greater dependence on agriculture, their relatively lower ability to adapt, and the high share of income they spend on food,” said William Sutton, lead agriculture economist at the World Bank.

7. Digestive disorders are one of the leading causes of death in Moldova. While this is in part linked to poor nutrition, alcohol is also a culprit. Moldovans drink more than 18 liters of pure alcohol a year, almost three times the global average.

8. Despite high rates of poverty, alcoholism and hunger in Moldova, life expectancy is two to five years higher than richer countries in the Commonwealth of Independent states, such as Russia. In 2010, Moldovan life expectancy was 69.13 years.

9. While the EU has supplied aid in order to address issues such as hunger in Moldova, high levels of corruption and weak institutions weaken the affect this support has.

10. There are many development projects created by organizations such as USAID and the World Food Program that aim to alleviate hunger in Moldova. Many of these projects focus on diversifying Moldova’s economy in order to give Moldovans non-agricultural sources of income.

While the people of Moldova are facing economic and nutritional challenges, both the government and aid organizations are starting to implement promising programs that could play a key role in improving the country’s economic potential and alleviating hunger in Moldova.

Alexi Worley

Photo: Flickr

Moldavia is officially known as the Republic of Moldova, or Moldava. It is a country in Eastern Europe landlocked from the west by Romania and from the remaining directions by Ukraine. The capital is Chișinăa, and as of 2013, the population was over 3.5 million people. The official language is Romanian, and the poverty rate in Moldova is estimated at 26. 3 percent.

Moldova is considered one of the poorest, if not the poorest country in Europe. Northern Moldova is one of the poorest regions in all of Europe. Moldova is entering its third decade of independence. It gained its independence upon the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The religious sector is one of the only social forces not rampant with corruption. Corruption both influences and has infused the country’s social normalities.

For example, it is common for university students to bribe professors to pass their courses. Money laundering in malls and shopping centers is another common occurrence. Government approved massive expansions and construction projects are widespread; however, aid money is often laundered. Even the government officials who belong to organizations and offices purposed with combating the country’s corruption have been accused of being a part of the corruption racket.

Moldova was quite prosperous during the era of the Soviet Union. Its main economic advantage derived from its export of fruits and vegetables to the rest of the USSR. Due to lack of economic opportunity, many Moldavians have begun to move abroad to countries like Spain, Italy and Greece, leaving behind children and the elderly in desolate villages.

The current generation in Moldova is experiencing life without the safety net of the Soviet Union. The current unemployment rate is over 20 percent for men. For the few jobs that are available, wages remain low. The divorce rates are on the rise and the birth rate continues to decline. For much of the year, it is common for married couples and families to live apart due to scarce work opportunities, resulting in an increasing amount of children who must learn to fend for themselves.

Erika Wright

Sources: Huffington Post, Moldova
Photo: JanelaESC


Every year, the Social Progress Imperative comes out with an index that measures how individual countries perform in basic human needs, foundations of well-being, and opportunity. One subset of the foundations of well-being category is health and wellness. This subset takes into account life expectancy, non-communicable disease deaths between the ages of 30 and 70, obesity, outdoor air pollution attributed deaths and suicide rates. Below is a list of the world’s ten most unhealthy countries in the world, based on this subset.

10. Bulgaria, 60.63

Bulgaria is in the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula. The country has a high mortality rate from cardiovascular disease. Additionally, Bulgaria has the worst air quality in Europe, with some of the highest concentrations of particulate matter, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide.

9. Mozambique, 60.40

Mozambique’s main health problems are to due with high mortality rates due to drought, poverty and HIV/AIDS, as well as a lack of experienced health workers in the country. The HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to decimate portions of the population in the country. In addition, capacity building and risk reduction expertise are both low.

8. Swaziland, 60.29

Located in southern Africa, Swaziland has an extremely high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, reaching over 26 percent. Swaziland needs the most improvement in life expectancy and non-communicable disease deaths between 30 and 70.

7. Latvia, 59.97

Latvia, too, has problems with air quality that cause long-term health problems. Latvia also needs to address substance abuse problems such as alcohol and tobacco, which both contribute to ill health in the country at a disproportional rate.

6. Armenia, 59.36

Armenia’s health issues revolve around a broken, extremely expensive health care system that cannot meet the burden of care. With economic downturn, basic medicines and doctor visits can become too expensive.

5. Moldova, 58.00

Moldova is currently experiencing negative population growth. The two main causes of death are heart disease and cancer. Moldova has high rates of substance abuse-related deaths, like alcohol and tobacco. Tuberculosis, especially multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, is rapidly becoming a major health concern in the country.

4. Belarus, 56.56

The main areas that need improvement in Belarus are non-communicable diseases and suicide rates. The country, located in Eastern Europe, is also relatively polluted, which can cause long-term ill-health.

3. Russia, 51.99

Russia needs improvement in almost all categories, including life expectancy, non-communicable diseases, air pollution and suicide rates. Additionally, Russia experiences high rates of mortality due to smoking for both men and women. HIV/AIDS is also becoming more of a concern.

2. Ukraine, 51.82

Ukraine, located in Eastern Europe, has similar problems as its neighbors, mainly bad air quality, high levels of tobacco and alcohol abuse and high suicide rates. Additionally, Ukrainians spend about 13 percent of their lives in ill-health, which is much higher than most of their neighbors. Ukraine also has the highest rate of infectious diseases in Europe.

1. Kazakhstan, 49.93

Kazakhstan, located in Central Asia, is ranked as the unhealthiest country in the world, according to the Social Progress Imperative. Kazakhstan needs dramatic improvement in life expectancy, deaths related to non-communicable diseases, air quality and suicide rates. HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis have become growing concerns; TB, especially, is of great concern because of drug-resistance.

Caitlin Huber

Sources: Social Progress Imperative, World Health Organization 1, World Health Organization 2, World Health Organization 3, World Health Organization 4, World Health Organization 5, New York Times, UNICEF, National Center for Biotechnology Information, Common Dreams, World Bank, University of Pittsburgh
Photo: Flickr