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Poverty in Cyprus
Cyprus is an island country in the Mediterranean Sea, just south of Turkey, with a population of 1.2 million. The Republic of Cyprus, the country’s only internationally recognized government and part of the European Union, controls 60% of the southern region of the island. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus controls 36% of land in the north region of the island. The division between the North and South republics of Cyprus has created a power struggle of high tension, leaving the island politically unstable. Despite this instability, Cyprus has seen an improvement in decreasing poverty rates, as well as an expanding economy. Here are seven facts about poverty in Cyprus.

7 Facts About Poverty in Cyprus

  1. Cyprus’s economy is growing and expanding. Its tourism sector saw a significant boost in 2018 when over four million travelers visited the island, a 7.8% increase from 2017. This increase in tourism correlates to its increase in GDP per capita, rising from 25,957.85 to 28,341.05 in 2018. Experts expect Cyprus’s GDP per capita to increase even more in 2020, with models estimating a 1.03% increase.
  2. When Cyprus gained independence in 1960, it began transitioning to a service economy. Cyprus’s economy started focusing more on its tourism and service sectors instead of agriculture. This allowed the GDP to rise. As of 2020, Cyprus’s GDP is $34.5 billion, a 3.9% growth since 2019.
  3. Cyprus’s unemployment rate has decreased. With the expansion of Cyprus’s economy came more jobs in the tourism and service sectors. As a result, unemployment rates have decreased.  Since 2015, the country has cut its unemployment rate almost in half, from 14.91% in 2015 to 7.92% in 2019.
  4. Education in Cyprus is growing. Today, Cyprus has five private universities and three public ones. Both are rapidly expanding and connecting with other institutions across the globe. These schools continuously put millions of dollars back into the local economy, thus, providing thousands of jobs for the community.
  5. Life-expectancy is increasing in Cyprus. As of 2020, the island’s life expectancy is 81.05 years, a 0.19% increase from 2019. Future projections from U.N. data predict a continuous upward trend.
  6. Cyprus does not have a standard minimum wage law for all workers. However, some occupations do have certain wage requirements set by the cabinet. These requirements are reviewed and revised annually in an effort to be fair to citizens. Since there is no countrywide minimum wage, however, this leaves room for many disparities in poverty and wealth.
  7. The Economic Interdependence Project is a partnership between the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Cyprus Chambers of Commerce. Created in 2009, the project’s goal is to intervene and encourage partnerships between businesses of both parties. The project hopes to reveal the benefits of the two communities working together to improve Cyprus’s economic stability and growth. They have been able to open the first island-wide business directory with over 200 businesses. Additionally, the project also gave Market Research Grants to some businesses. 

Despite Cyprus’s political tensions between the southern and northern regions, the country has expanded its economy, increased tourism and implemented programs that encourage business relationships. These factors have allowed for an overall decrease in poverty in Cyprus. Hopefully, this progress will continue in the coming years.

– George Hashemi 
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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

poverty in Cyprus
Cyprus is a Mediterranean nation with about a quarter of its population living in poverty, but it’s difficult to understand the full scope of the issue because the government does not consider poverty in Cyprus to be a major issue worthy of recording.

To make matters more complex, Cyprus is a nation divided between the north and south. The north is a self-declared Turkish Republic, and the south is known simply as the Republic of Cyprus. This division makes keeping track of those in need on the island more difficult.

 

A Brief History

Cyprus was classified as a low-income country by the U.N. until 1988, and received $331.6 million in aid from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the U.N. from 1973 to 1988. Cyprus has since become a popular vacation spot and rebounded from its tumultuous past; however, the nation has not shown its citizens as much attention as it has its economy. Of the 1.17 million people living in this popular tourist destination in 2016, 230,000 individuals were at risk of poverty.

 

Tracking Poverty

One reason it’s hard to track poverty in Cyprus is due to the large Greek population in the south. They have strong familial relations, and if one family member suffers from poverty, there is usually someone in the family willing to take them in. Due to this, most at-risk individuals in Cyprus are immigrants, single mothers and retired elderly with no family.

Gathering statistics on poverty in the North is even more difficult, since the country is only recognized by one other U.N. nation (Turkey). Because of this, statistics aren’t regularly collected, and the only ones that are relate to GDP.

 

International Aid

In June 2012, Cyprus became the fifth euro-area member to request international aid. At the time of President Nicos Anastasiades’ first election, Cyprus had been shut out of debt markets for two years, with lenders losing 4.5 billion euros in 2012’s restructuring of Greek sovereign debt.

Over 100,000 people in Cyprus are unemployed, and shopkeepers and small businesses struggle to make ends meet. The nongovernmental organization, Volunteer Groups, reported that there are still over 12,000 additional families in desperate need of basic provisions.

 

Supporting the Community

Food lines and soup kitchens are a part of daily life for at least 40,000 Cypriot families. The Sophia Foundation and other charities are busy feeding school children and citizens in destitution. Up for election again in 2017, Nicos Anastasiades ran against opposition party leader Andros Kypriano — Kypriano said that the president is never called out on the issues of poverty in Cyprus.

“Mr. Anastasiades is not asked to explain why, whereas he and his administration are portraying Cyprus as something akin to Switzerland, about one-third of the population is on the poverty threshold. For the last five years this government has turned its back on low-income pensioners, disabled persons and sick people.”

Hopefully with more time and development, Cyprus will not only be able to accurately and comprehensively document its impoverished population, but it will also be able to make strides in poverty eradication.

– Sam Bramlett

Photo: Pixabay

Cyprus Poverty Rate
The European Social Watch Report 2010 identified the elderly as the generation most at-risk to be affected by poverty. However, within the past few years, the over-65 poverty rate has decreased dramatically, dropping from 45 percent in 2008 to 17.3 percent in 2015. Two key factors played a major role in this improvement.

 

Causes of Poverty in Cyprus

 

Pension Maturation: Everyone who is gainfully employed in Cyprus (including self-employed individuals) is eligible to receive compulsory social insurance. This insurance also includes an old age pension, which is the primary source of income for Cypriots over age 65.

The current Cypriot social insurance scheme was last reformed in 1980, affecting pension levels in two important ways. First, the system changed from a flat-rate to an earnings-related structure. This means that the level of pension available is based on the level of insurable earnings. Second, pension levels are based on the length of the contribution period. As the current system has “matured,” or gotten older, retiring Cypriots have had more time to contribute to their pensions. This has allowed for an increase in income from old-age pension, directly correlating to the decrease in the over-65 poverty rate.

Overall Wage Decline: In the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis, unemployment rose and wages fell in Cyprus. The European Social Policy Network (ESPN) cited both a 7.6 percent drop in mean monthly earnings for full-time workers between 2010 and 2014 and a rise in non-standard employment as repercussions of the crisis. However, income for Cypriots over 65 remained relatively stable due to the old age pension.

It is important to note that the dramatic decline in the over-65 poverty rate in Cyprus is not necessarily secure. The ESPN predicts that pension growth will level off as the system fully matures, the poverty line will rise as the economy grows and pension levels will be lower in the future as workers in non-standard positions retire. Maintaining the current Cyprus poverty rate for Cypriots over age 65 will require focusing on income levels for retirees. In the current system, that means safeguarding the ability for workers to obtain an adequate pension.

Erik Beck

Photo: Flickr