Azerbaijan is a country of 9.8 million people situated between Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It is bordered by the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian Sea. A former part of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan is roughly the size of Maine. Below are the top 10 facts about living conditions in Azerbaijan.
Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Azerbaijan
- A Trading Economics report from 2008 shows that only 2.5 percent of the population lives on two dollars per day, while the top 10 percent of the population hold a quarter of the country’s wealth.
- Falling oil prices devastated Azerbaijan’s economy in 2015 when the national GDP fell from $75.244 billion in 2014 to $53.074 billion in 2015. The GDP fell even further in 2016 to $37.868 billion. The economy has begun to recover, but the GDP lingers just above half of the pre-economic shock levels.
- As the economy recovers, Azerbaijan hit an average record-high income per month in 2019. In March of this year, the average income was 577.60 AZN per month, roughly $399. This is a stark contrast from the record-low income per month just a decade ago, when the United States recession affected the world economy. In April 2008, the average wages were 242.70 AZN per month or $142.
- During this recession, food inflation rose to a peak of 18.27 percent. To offset the public’s inability to purchase food, the government raised pensions and wages, which is a move that many economists believed would further increase inflation, however, food inflation currently sits at around two percent.
- A majority of the population live in urban areas; 55 percent of citizens reside in cities.
- 100 percent of the country reports having access to electricity, both in rural and urban areas. The goal of the government has been to meet and maintain access to electricity for the entire population, but they have struggled to achieve their goal. Access has sat at or over 95 percent for the last three decades but has fluctuated.
- 78 percent of the population has access to the internet, although sweeping reforms in Azerbaijan’s government have given authorities the right to widely ban content. In recent years, many journalists were detained and sentenced to up to 10 years for their internet activity.
- Access to clean water was traditionally an issue for the people of Azerbaijan. In the early 1990s, only 68.8 percent of the population had access to clean water. Today, nearly 90 percent of people have access to clean water in their households. This improvement was made using many different public projects including sanitation plants installed along the river, and the collection and processing of rainwater.
- The fertility rate is low with just under two live births per woman in 2016, compared to near six live births per woman in the early 1960s. Programs that promoted birth control and educated women on pregnancy helped the fertility rate to decline. Another aiding factor was the increase in healthcare that allowed more children to live into adulthood, so families did not need to have as many children to ensure their family’s growth.
- The life expectancy at birth for the population of Azerbaijan is 72.8 years. Women have a life expectancy of over 76 years, while men have a life expectancy of 70 years.
These top 10 facts about living conditions in Azerbaijan suggest that the country is recovering from a difficult economic era. While there is less devastating poverty in recent years, the economic downturn of 2015 and 2016 shows that Azerbaijan is a country that needs to take steps in stabilizing the economy, investing further in its citizens and broadening its markets if the country wants to completely remove itself from poverty and carry its people into a brighter future. Azerbaijan has reduced the amount of poverty among their citizens, but they still have more to accomplish.
– Kathryn Moffet