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10 Facts About the Recession in IranIran, a southwest Asian nation of over 81 million people, currently struggles with a dire recession. Iranians face a combination of inflationary pressures and economic stagnation, known as stagflation. Listed below are 10 facts about the recession in Iran:

10 Facts About the Recession in Iran

  1. Sanctions – The recent resumption of U.S. sanctions has taken a large toll on Iran’s economy. Sanctions contributed to a gross domestic product contraction of 3.93 percent in 2018 after a GDP growth of 3.73 percent the previous year. The sanctions particularly target oil exports, Iran’s primary revenue stream. A BBC report states that Iran’s oil trade has lost $10 billion in the past six months because of sanctions.
  2. Oil Dependency – Iran contains the fourth most crude oil reserves in the world, which has led to a volatile economy based on petroleum. Oil was a boon to Iran’s economy in 2016, a year in which the country witnessed a 12.52 percent GDP growth. However, as the World Bank notes, this success rapidly diminished to approximately 3.8 percent growth in 2017 as petrodollars became rarer.
  3. Ambiguous Poverty Line – Poverty is difficult to fight because Iran’s government cannot decide on a poverty line. The Iran Observer stated in 2017 that various government representatives define absolute poverty differently. Iranian Vice President of Economic Affairs Mohammad Nahavandian estimated 10 million Iranians live in poverty while, Parviz Fattah, head of the Khomeini Relief Foundation, claims the number is closer to 20 million.
  4. High Unemployment – Iran currently suffers from an unemployment epidemic, particularly among the educated youth. A mere 14,000 new jobs appeared yearly for the 700,000 youth entering the market between 2006 and 2011. Now, the Brookings Institution reports that college-educated men aged 25 to 29 years have a 34.6 percent unemployment rate, and women of the same group have a 45.7 percent rate.
  5. Emigration – One result of Iran’s employment dilemma is the mass emigration of skilled labor from the country. There is a surplus of skilled labor without the necessary demand, so educated Iranians flee the country for new opportunities. CNN Business reports that Iran’s Science Minister, Reza Faraji Dana, admitted 150,000 skilled Iranians had fled the nation in 2014 for this reason.
  6. High Cost of Living – The cost of living in Iran between 2018 and 2019 has skyrocketed alongside rapid inflation. According to the BBC, the Iranian rial has lost 60 percent of its value in the past year. Housing costs and medical attention have risen by 20 percent and especially harm the poorest individuals.  In March 2019, a Statistical Centre of Iran report also showed a 57 percent increase in white meat prices and a 37 percent uptick in dairy costs for average citizens.
  7. Increasing Poverty – As employment and affordable goods become scarcer, more Iranians fall into poverty. The Brookings Institution estimates that poverty remained at roughly 10 percent nationally in 2011, but it has risen since then. Research by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies found that it rose as high as 38 percent in the Sistan and Balouchistan provinces between 2016 and 2017. The threat of insulated urban areas succumbing to poverty displays the problem’s magnitude. Qom, the renowned traditional center of Islamic clerical training, suffered from a 30 percent poverty rate in 2017.
  8. Relief International Helps – Relief International is one nongovernmental organization mitigating the recession’s effects and preventing the economic crisis from deepening. Originally founded by Iranian-Americans in 1990 as “The Iran Earthquake Relief Fund,” RI focuses on cash assistance for flood victims and training local NGOs. The floods in the Golestan province have exacerbated hard times, and RI’s instant cash assistance will help 2,000 families from slipping into poverty. RI also hopes to have an indirect effect on poverty reduction by training 20 Iranian NGOs in efficient service to the poor.
  9. Amenities Expanded – Despite the recession, most Iranians have access to basic amenities due to government efforts post-1984. The Brookings Institution charts that in 1984, below 80 percent of citizens had electricity or plumbing. The government realized the issue stemmed from underdeveloped rural areas and immediately provided funding. It was an incredibly successful campaign that brought Iranians universal electricity and plumbing by 2000. These efforts continue today, spawning progress in the midst of recession and delivering baths to nearly 100 percent of Iranians by 2017.
  10. Improving Efficiency – Iran’s government is acting to make the economy more efficient, and there are many recommendations available for enhancing fiscal stability. An International Monetary Fund consultation with Iran in 2015 congratulated the government on widening the revenue stream by implementing simple direct taxation. Recommendations included expanding employment for women and increasing privatization, both of which should unlock new productivity for the economy.

The above 10 facts about the recession in Iran show that many hurdles still block the country’s growth. However, the steady increase in access to amenities displays economic progress within the recession and the IMF’s recommendations provide viable solutions to stagflation. Continued improvements will service the poor and provide a path to Iran’s economic stability.

Sean Galli
Photo: Flickr

Poverty Line Breakdown
Over three billion people live on less than $2.50 per day, showing that poverty remains a top global issue. Every country has a poverty line, which is the level of personal or family income below which one is considered poor by government standards. While there are a handful of countries with extreme poverty, there are others that have maintained the poverty line within their country.

Poverty Rates

According to the Huffington Post, factoring poverty rates is a mixture of art and science. When coming up with a country’s poverty line, the measurement of wealth and distribution has to coincide with the cost of living rates or price purchase parity adjustments. In other words, someone who may be perceived as poor in the United States can be considered wealthy in another country. The global quantification of extreme poverty is categorized differently than middle- and upper-income countries.

Countries with the Highest Poverty Line

  • The Dominican Republic of Congo: Despite the most recent decrease in DRC’s poverty rate, 71 percent in 2005 to 64 percent in 2012, the DRC remains one of the poorest countries in the world. The United Nations has estimated that 2.3 million people living in the DRC are poor and living in refugee camps. Due to the detrimental political corruption, the people of DRC continue to suffer for minimal necessities. The nutritional statistics of DRC are extremely low and health conditions are severe. Stunting, wasting, immunization coverage, drinking water conditions and diseases are just a few examples of matters that need to be taken seriously to solve these conditions.
  • The Central African Republic: As of 2008, the poverty rate for the Central African Republic stood at 66.3 percent and not much has changed. Although this is a healthy decrease from 84.3 percent in 1992, a majority of the countries’ population lives on less than $1.90 per day. To many, the Central African Republic may appear to be the land of diamonds, but it remains one of the poorest countries in Africa and the world. With a low population count of five million people, most of them are living without food, sanitation and decent housing. Every year, the Central African Republic only brings in $750. The Central African Republic’s issues reside from civil conflict, diseases and lack of infrastructure for schools and jobs. With minimal annual income, jobs are scarce and in high demand.

Countries with the Lowest Poverty Line

  • Finland: With a low poverty rate of 5.5 percent, Finland has one of the lowest poverty lines in decades, although the risk of poverty for many residing in Finland is the highest it’s ever been. There’s a secret to Finland’s success story: employment, education and parenting take priority. In addition, Finland is committed to improving education and healthcare. It is generous with welfare and possesses a low infant mortality rate, good school test scores and an extremely low poverty rate. Finland is considered the second happiest country on earth, falling second to the United States.
  • The Czech Republic: About 9.7 percent of the Czech Republic’s population live below the poverty line. Of all the European Union member states, Czech has the lowest amount of people threatened by poverty. In comparison to the average rate of 17 percent for the eurozone, Czech is doing pretty well for itself. Czech’s high-income economy is primarily based on the revenue it receives from its auto industry. This still remains its largest single industry, accounting for 24 percent of Czech’s product manufacturing. Czech’s wealth is due to its successful trading system.

Poverty lines will continue to be a global issue until countries ally to reduce the gap in socioeconomic status. Without the rich, there would be no poor. Even within impoverished areas of the world, there are different levels of poverty and what one can afford. Unity and prioritizing citizen’s needs is a necessity to promote change in poverty lines.

 – Kayla Sellers 

Photo: Flickr

Girls' Education in Burundi
At then end of June this year, the Ministry of Education in Burundi decided to ban pregnant girls and teenage fathers from attending school. Girls have always been treated unfairly in comparison to boys when it comes to education, and this new ban is just another example. Although the ban feigns equality by giving teenage fathers the boot: the solution is faulty.

Teenage Pregnancy in Burundi

To begin with, all children deserve the right to education and should not be denied it on the premise of pregnancy. Secondly, there is no access to a reliable method to establish a teenage boy’s paternity. The ban is inherently biased against girls because they cannot hide their pregnancy. Since teenage pregnancy is an issue, girls’ education in Burundi will be affected by this restriction because fewer girls will be able to attend school.

The impact of this new law has the potential to be irreparably damaging, as 11 percent of girls between the ages of 15 and 19 in Burundi are sexually active. Additionally, 40 percent of victims of sexual or physical violence in Burundi are teenage girls. There is simply no way for the Ministry of Education to police sexual violence in order for it to entirely stop affecting girls of school-age. The ban does nothing but punish girls for a situation they have no control over.

Other countries such as Morocco and Sudan have also taken measures in an attempt to prevent premarital sex. The laws they have in place allow young girls to face criminal charges for adultery and extramarital sex. They can also be expelled from school. Officials have stated the laws are necessary to punish girls for “moral failures.”

Poverty and Girls’ Education in Burundi

Burundi is one of the poorest nations in the world, with 65 percent of its population living below the poverty line. Living in a low-income region already is detrimental to girls’ education in Burundi. Girls’ families often cannot afford school supplies and the quality of education is not good either.

The last thing girls need are more roadblocks to getting their education. The new ban on attending school while pregnant perpetuates stigmas and isolate young girls socially. These girls are often already financially disadvantaged and ostracizing them from the school system puts them in a much less supported and dangerous place.

Some countries have policies that allow girls to re-enter school after being expelled. However, it is common for these systems to have many deterrents for girls to actually re-enter. Medical exams and an extended maternity leave are just a few examples.

After a young girl has been ostracized and humiliated, it is unlikely she will want to return to pick up from where she left off. The re-entry programs make the system seem a little more humane. But when thought about realistically, they probably will not provide girls with more opportunity.

Girls’ education in Burundi has a long way to go after the passing of this law. Surpassing financial obstacles in an impoverished country to get an education is hard enough on its own. Girls should not have to live in the fear of losing their shot at getting an education because of a situation that they are not responsible for.

– Amelia Merchant
Photo: Flickr

facts about poverty in India
India is a South Asian country with one of the fastest growing economies and yet still a large number of inhabitants living in poverty.

The Top 10 Facts About Poverty in India

  1. According to a survey done by CNN, only five percent of India’s surveyed population made enough to pay taxes, 2.5 percent owned a vehicle and less than 10 percent had a salaried job.
  2. With such economic struggles, literacy is extremely uncommon in rural areas. Only 3.5 percent of students in India graduate and about 35.7 percent of the population doesn’t know how to write or read.
  3. In 2012, there were 270,000,000 — or one in every five —  impoverished Indians; 80 percent of these poor Indians lived in rural areas.
  4. Twenty-one percent of poor Indians have restrooms, 61 percent have electricity and only 6 percent have tap water.
  5. With poverty affecting Indian lives so much, 38 of every 1,000 babies born in India die before making it to their one-year mark.
  6. The rapid population growth in India is one of the major reasons for poverty within the country. The growth of the population exceeds the rate of growth in the country’s overall income. This heavily affects the poor because population growth creates a need for an increased labor supply, which is a profession with low wage rates.
  7. One of the top 10 facts about poverty in India includes climatic conditions and the effect such impacts have on poverty within the country as a whole. India’s climate is extremely hot, which makes it difficult for Indians to work. This inability, in turn, causes production to suffer and therefore, the income of Indians to suffer as well. Also, there are numerous amounts of floods, earthquakes and cyclones that cause extreme damage to agriculture and infrastructure; all of these conditions make it difficult for people living in poverty.
  8. “Your Article Library” explains that low levels of investment create low income and that the circle of poverty is seemingly never-ending within India.
  9. Business Today explains that India recently accounted for the largest amount of people living below the poverty line; 30 percent of India’s population lives on less than $1.90 a day.
  10. The Huffington Post reveals that 56 percent of Indians (around 680 million people) lack the ability to meet their basic needs. Even the people who are officially above the poverty line (around 413 million people) are still vulnerable to such harsh conditions.

Sooner Rather than Later

With poverty continually taking such a toll on India, it is important to understand that it is a country in need of assistance. Allowing people the ability to see their harsh living conditions is one way to ensure that these top 10 facts about poverty in India improve over time.

– McCall Robinson

Photo: Pixabay

Poverty in AustraliaMore than 730,000 children live in poverty in Australia. Thirteen percent of Australians, three million people, fall below the line. What is causing this high prevalence of poverty?

Despite multiple decades of economic growth, the poverty rate has not wavered. There are 320,000 public housing dwellings in the country, and 150,000 applicants are still waiting on listings. Very few people get access to the miniscule supply of social housing in Australia. In fact, social housing accounts for less than five percent of the entire housing sector. As a result, many people living in poverty are excluded from affordable housing and the unaffordability of housing in the market directly contributes to their poverty.

A spike in single parentage contributes to poverty in Australia. According to a report by The Guardian, a rise in poverty was recorded for children in one-parent families from 2012 to 2014. That’s four percent in two years.

There is also a historic relation of inequality and poverty in Australia, with Aboriginal populations being much more likely to suffer from poverty. Aboriginal people are still rebounding from an era of discrimination and oppression.

Furthermore, many residents in Australia are feeling the negative effects of the reduction of social welfare payments such as Newstart, the parenting payment, and the Disability Support Pension. The majority of people below the poverty line rely on social security as their main source of income, although around a third subsist on actual wages.

Recent reports by charity Foodbank SA indicate more than 102,000 South Australians needed help to get food in the past year, compared to 85,000 in 2016. Foodbank SA chief executive officer Greg Pattinson says this growth is the worst the organization has seen and is largely attributed to rising electricity prices. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) today released a report that found the average power bill for South Australian households had increased by 48 per cent since 2007 to 2008. ACCC chairman Rod Sims says these increased prices are due to a clean energy target. Sims said the ACCC’s report showed the gold-plating of Australia’s power grid as the biggest factor behind the power price increases.

It is evident that the prevalence of poverty in Australia is caused by a multiplicity of factors and solutions will need to take into account this complexity.

– Sam Bramlett

Photo: Flickr

Causes of Poverty in BelgiumThe country of Belgium in northwestern Europe is not one that is especially burdened by poverty. its working class includes a small number of people who live below the poverty line; in 2007, it was reported that 7 percent of Belgium’s population was classified as “poor.” Moreover, a mere 14.8 percent of Belgium’s population is “at risk of poverty”, and so Belgium’s government has not implemented any sort of massive policy in order to protect its people that are of low socioeconomic status.

However, these rather low statistics should not indicate that the existing poverty rate in Belgium is unimportant or should be ignored. In fact, a wide variety of causes of poverty in Belgium exist, and these causes should be addressed so that the government may implement specific policies and improve the lives of the different groups of people most likely to be living in poverty.

Single-parent families
One of the major causes of poverty in Belgium is that many families that are headed by single parents suffer from an inadequate income. Single parents, especially those who work low-wage jobs, bring home less income than parents who share their total household incomes with their spouses.

Young people
According to a report published by the Belgian Resource Center for the Fight Against Poverty in 2006, young people are particularly susceptible to poverty due to the increased difficulty of finding work compared to older people.

Women
Women are at a higher risk of being burdened by the effects of poverty for many reasons. Among those reasons, consistent with the aforementioned report, is the increased rate of discrimination that women face in the workplace.

Location
Location is a determining factor of one’s likelihood to be affected by poverty, because location ultimately controls one’s access to various resources. For instance, certain areas may not provide workplaces that offer health insurance.

While Belgium may not be burdened by a large poverty rate, there are still many groups of Belgians that fall below the poverty line. These different groups of people may benefit from specific policies implemented by the government in order to address their individual, respective issues.

Emily Santora

Photo: Flickr

Poverty Rate in Kosovo
Kosovo, also known as the Republic of Kosovo, is located in the central Balkan Peninsula. According to the CIA, Kosovo has a population of 1,882,018. Kosovo is the second-poorest country in Europe. Due to a high level of corruption and little contract enforcement, poverty is a huge problem in Kosovo. Here are 10 facts about the poverty rate in Kosovo:

  1. The unemployment rate in Kosovo was 34.8 percent in 2016, which means almost one-third of the labor force in Kosovo does not have jobs. The rate increased 0.2 percent, from 34.6 percent in 2015 to 34.8 percent in 2016. Kosovo is ranked 197th on a list of unemployment rates worldwide.
  2. Thirty percent of the population in Kosovo fall below the poverty line, which means more than 550,000 people in Kosovo live in poverty.
  3. Kosovo’s GDP was $18.49 billion in 2016, which places it at 149th in the world.
  4. Kosovo’s GDP per capita in 2016 is $9,600, which makes it the second-poorest country in Europe. Kosovo’s GDP per capita is ranked 140th in the world overall.
  5. Youth unemployment is also a problem in Kosovo. The youth unemployment rate is near 60 percent in Kosovo.
  6. Kosovo’s official currency is the euro. However, Serb majority communities are illegally using the Serbian dinar as an official currency.
  7. The inflation rate in Kosovo is 0.2 percent, which is ranked 43rd compared to all the other countries in the world.
  8. According to research data, the majority of Kosovo’s citizens live with a monthly income of fewer than 500 euros. Most of this income is spent on food and daily supplies, which leaves little for medical care and entrainment.
  9. Kosovo’s citizens lack affordable health services. The government’s budget for health care can only cover 60 percent of medications considered essential. Treating serious diseases like cancer is unaffordable for most families in Kosovo.
  10. Kosovo’s economy has shown progress as it transforms into a market-based system. However, Kosovo’s economy also depends heavily on the international community for financial and technical assistance.

Although Kosovo’s economy is facing many problems and the poverty rate in Kosovo is still relativity high, Kosovo’s economy is making progress. Reducing the unemployment rate and raising living standards are the two major things Kosovo should be focusing on to improve the economy and reduce the poverty rate.

Mike Liu

Causes of Poverty in Haiti
Haiti is known as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. According to a Global Sisters Report, more than half of its citizens live either on or below the poverty line, contributing to a dearth of resources like food. Severe hunger is one of the biggest consequences of Haitian poverty, which has gotten worse in recent times. Given the severity of the situation, it’s important to know what the causes of poverty in Haiti are.

 

Exploring the Causes of Poverty in Haiti

 

One of the biggest causes of poverty in Haiti is government instability. Throughout the past 30 years, Haiti has had 18 different leaders, with 18 different governments. Due to this upheaval, several officials and businesses have taken advantage of the situation for their own power and wealth, to the detriment of the rest of the Haitian people.

Another consequence of this instability is the lack of government funds due to a lack of paid taxes. This leads to poor or even nonexistent services, such as aid for natural disasters. When these disasters occur, it creates a bigger burden for a country already struggling with few resources.

Two recent disasters that have exacerbated Haitian poverty are the 2010 earthquake and 2016’s Hurricane Matthew. According to The Economist, the earthquake left tens of thousands homeless, many of them still living in relief tents seven years later.

Still reeling from the earthquake, Hurricane Matthew destroyed much of the country’s livestock and crops. According to the Miami Herald, this leads to either desperate measures to attain food, like eating poisonous plants, or an over-dependence on foreign aid.

A study explored in the Global Sisters Report discussed how “[imported] rice accounts for the vast bulk [83 percent] of consumption.” The dependency on foreign food leads to less investment on local foods, hurting the already fragile economy.

Regardless, foreign relief alleviates a lot of the burden of Haitian poverty. Organizations like Food for the Poor and Misiόn Belem feed Haitians in areas where food is scarce.

In response to those areas of scarcity, current Haitian President Jovenel Moise vows to build up Haitian agriculture, like clearing the Duclos canal so the waters can be used to grow rice. Moise is also considering matters in Haiti beyond agriculture.

The Economist discussed how he received a report from The Copenhagen Consensus Centre outlining what it felt were the best investments into Haiti’s future. These investments included electricity reform, first responder training and infant immunization.

Although the causes of poverty in Haiti are varied and extreme, there are many people both within and outside of the island who are working towards ending Haitian poverty.

Cortney Rowe

Photo: Flickr


Amid the political tensions running in Turkey, about 30 million people are in need of assistance out of a population of 79 million. The issues of economic problems, social welfare and governmental pressures on families are only hurting those in need.

In 2015, unemployment in Turkey was 10.8 percent with household debt totaling up to 26.4 percent of disposable income. According to a survey released from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK), 22.4 percent of households live below the poverty line. However, the Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions claims that 50 percent of Turkey’s population as living under the poverty line.

With financial struggles running throughout the nation, the government has shown little interest in helping families who are struggling to feed and care for their children. The government continues to encourage families to have at least three children.

Child support system is paid for on a monthly basis, adding up to about $206 per family. While the numbers have shot up from 19,735 to 101,561 families receiving help, there are no figures available for those supported by nongovernmental organizations.

Socialist International vice president Umut Oran explains that the Turkish government encourages people to have more children, ultimately making poor families poorer and increasing the number of government dependents.

“Membership in the AKP has become a prerequisite for easy access to assistance, though this assistance comes from the taxes the whole nation pays. Through the indirect taxes — which amount to 60 percent [of total tax revenues] — the state gives out what it takes from the citizens’ pockets to the beneficiaries,” Oran explained in an interview.

The government opposition in Turkey has done little to criticize government policies toward poverty. Because of the poverty plaguing the nation, rises in domestic violence and divorce have taken a toll on families in Turkey as well.

Mary Waller

Photo: Flickr

Botswana
Supported by the discovery of diamonds, poverty in Botswana has reduced while the country has achieved universal access to HIV treatment and strengthened their social services.

Botswana, a small landlocked country of 2 million people, was once one of the poorest countries in Africa. In 1996, the country was one of the least developed and poorest nations in the world with a per capita annual income of $83. In the years that followed, Botswana had one of the fastest growing economies in the world. By the 21st century, Botswana’s per capita annual income was $7,300. The success has come from Botswana’s partnership with De Beers, a diamond mining and trading company, which helped develop its diamond resources.

The diamonds of Botswana are very difficult to find. They are not sedimentary, rather they are found deep in the ground making them more valuable. The country shares joint-ownership, which guarantees Botswana the majority of the profits, with De Beers.

Due to low global demand for minerals and metals, Botswana’s economy began to decrease in 2012, but bounced back in 2013 and then decelerated again in 2014 and 2015; however, the economy is expected to rebound with projected economic growth rates of 3.7% and 4.3% respectively in 2016 and 2017, driven mainly by an improvement in diamond prices.

Once the money from diamonds starts coming in, all the revenues are reinvested in other assets. Priorities include investing in schools, roads, electricity and getting running water into homes and farms.

When the HIV/AIDS crisis came to Botswana, the country used its diamond money for public investment to essentially buy HIV/AIDS treatments for every citizen that was infected. Nearly 95 percent of the population now lives within 8km of a healthy facility.

Botswana’s discovery of the diamond has created more than 2,000 jobs and stabilized the economy. The percentage of people in poverty in Botswana continues to decrease, with a decline in citizens living at or below the poverty line from 50 percent to about 19 percent today.

Jacqueline Venuti

Photo: Flickr