Cyprus, a Mediterranean island with a population of 1.2 million, has endured several different occupations by major powers since the birth of the civilization. Beginning with the Assyrian, Egyptian, Persian and Roman Empires, Cyprus was then taken by the French Venetians and then the Ottoman Empire (from 1571 to 1878). The United Kingdom was the last imperial body to control Cyprus, from which Cyprus gained independence in 1960. In the article below, the top 10 facts about living conditions will be presented and will try to show how the people in this country live and what impacts their lives.
Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Cyprus
- Since 1974, Cyprus has been politically and ethnically divided into two territories- Northern and Southern Cyprus. Northern Cyprus is a de facto state of Turkey and populated primarily by Turkish Cypriots, while Southern Cyprus governs itself and is populated primarily by Grecian Cypriots. While Turkey recognizes Northern Cyprus as a Turkish territory, the rest of the world considers Northern Cyprus a part of the Republic of Cyprus, along with Southern Cyprus. Both Greek and Turkey are official languages in Cyprus. This division mostly impacts people in the country and reunification talks have been held in order to improve the situation.
- Cyprus joined the European Union (EU) in 2004 and has benefited politically and economically since its admission. Living conditions in Cyprus improved as the nation gained access to European treaties and European Union law to resolve internal unrest, and also the increased security that comes with EU membership. Today, more than half of Cyprus’ trade happens within the EU, expanding its markets farther and with more ease than that would be possible without the membership status.
- Cyprus has one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union despite the economic crisis of 2013. The nation’s economy grew 3.9 percent in 2017 and is predicted to continue growing in 2019 in the wake of expanding employment and a flourishing tourism industry.
- Poverty in Cyprus is notoriously hard to track, but it is presumed that the number of people at risk of poverty has been steadily decreasing over the last few years, starting from 28.9 percent in 2015, 27.6 percent in 2016 and to 25.2 percent in 2017. Improvement in poverty rates is largely due to continued economic growth, coupled with a rise in income in the nation.
- Along with a reduction in poverty, unemployment rates continue to fall in Cyprus. From about 15 percent in 2015, the unemployment rate fell to 13 percent in 2016 and further to 11 percent in 2017. In 2018, the unemployment rate fell to 8.2 percent, among the lowest in the EU.
- Global Finance Magazine ranked Cyprus 32nd in its 2019 list of the world’s safest countries. This ranks the country higher than the United Kingdom (38th), Japan (43rd) and the United States (65th).
- Education completion rates in Cyprus have been maintained at high rates. School completion rates hover between 97 and 98 percent, except for the year Cyprus divided in 1974 when the education completion rate was 64 percent. The political and social unease of this time is to blame for this dip in education completion rates, as the number went right back up the following year.
- Matching its high education completion rates, Cyprus’ literacy rate sits at around 99 percent, ranking the country among the best in the world regarding this issue.
- The life expectancy in Cyprus is around 80.5 years, which is comparable to neighboring countries Malta (81.8 years) and Greece (81.04 years). This rate is higher than the one in the United States (78.69 years).
- Health care in Cyprus is comparable to health systems in other developed nations. Split into public and private sectors, health care in Cyprus is generally free or very inexpensive for citizens and persons from EU nations. Emergency treatment is free for citizens, and EU nationals are eligible for free health insurance at public hospitals, which are located in all major cities.
While living conditions in Cyprus are already good, life in the nation could be improved by the reunification of the North and South. By some estimates, reunification could improve Cyprus’ GDP by as much as $5.7 billion in only five years, as Southern Cyprus would be less vulnerable to the economic problems of Greece and also gain access to Turkish markets. If the two territories gain free access to each other, the economy will benefit as a whole, improving further the Cypriotic economy and living conditions in Cyprus as a whole.