Rising out of years of economic stagnation, Georgia finds itself in a period of transition. Despite enduring the 2008 conflict with Russia and bearing the collateral damage of the Crimean war, the economic impacts of which are still felt, life in is improving. This list of top 10 facts about living conditions in Georgia examines how.
Top 10 Facts about Living Conditions in Georgia
- Georgia has expanded economic ties with the European Union. As of 2014, Georgia signed two important economic treaties with the EU, an Association Agreement as well as a separate Free Trade Agreement. Now enabling citizens to travel more freely, and opened the EU market to Georgian businesses.
- The country is a regional leader in anti-corruption. Corruption incentivizes shady dealings, dangerous products and mistrust – ultimately leading to poverty. Both the World Bank and U.S. State Department recognize Georgia’s role as an anti-corruption leader, citing a long-standing commitment to reform and several glowing reports.
- Poverty is decreasing. The percentage of Georgians living below the national standard for poverty has declined considerably: 37.3 percent in 2010 to 21.9 percent in 2017.
- There is moderate inequality. With a GINI coefficient of 36.5, Georgia has greater inequality than most of its neighbors: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine. Despite this, the share of national income earned by the poorest fifth of society has increased over time.
- Students are returning to complete secondary education. In the early 2000s Georgia had a high rate of non-enrollment in secondary education. More than one in five students would stop attending school after age 15. Now secondary schools have a 104 percent enrollment rate, meaning that many former students have decided to finish their education.
- Access to clean drinking water is common. For many years a significant number of Georgians (11 to 15 percent) lacked modern drinking water facilities. In 2015 Global nutrition reported that virtually 100 percent of citizens had proper access to drinking water with the vast majority receiving it via indoor plumbing.
- Obesity affects more people than starvation. According to a 2015 Global Nutrition report, more than half of all Georgians are overweight and one in five are obese. With undernourishment in decline, heart disease and similar problems are likely to be the next challenge.
- Life expectancy is increasing. Life expectancy at birth has been above 70 years old since the 1990s. A Georgian born today can now expect to reach age 74, living a fully active lifestyle well into their sixties.
- The 2008 Russian conflict has had a lasting impact. During the conflict, 130,000 Georgians became internal refugees displaced from the Abkhazia, Sidha Kartli and South Ossetia regions. While some have returned home, Action Against Hunger reports that the number of internally displaced persons has only gotten worse over time.
- Bugs are threatening crop harvests. For the past three years, the Abkhazia region has been struggling with an insect outbreak. In 2017, almost three-quarters of walnut farms had some of their germinating plants eaten before they were ready for sale. Russia even imposed a six-day import ban on Abkhazia to keep the bugs from spreading.
Despite setbacks in the past, Georgians are working hard to better their lives. Their efforts have begun to show in cities, schools, and fields as Georgia prospers as a strong, independent nation.
– John Glade