Although Greece may be known for its crystal clear blue waters, luxurious islands and fascinating ancient architecture, it is currently going through one of its greatest economic crises in Greek history. Here are the top 10 facts about poverty in Greece:
Top 10 Facts about Poverty in Greece
- Europe measures poverty using a metric called “relative poverty”: According to diaNEOsis Research and Policy Institute, people who live in relative poverty “have income that is lower than a set percentage of the economy’s median income. In Europe, the relative poverty threshold is currently set at 60 percent of median income”.
- Between 2011 and 2015, the relative poverty population increased by more than 1 percent.
- The percentage of the total population living in extreme poverty has rapidly increased in the past decade. Extreme poverty in Greece can range from 182 euros per month for a single member suburban or rural household, to 905 euros per month for parents with two children living in Athens and paying rent. In 2009, the percentage of the population in Greece living in extreme poverty was about 2.2 percent. In 2011, the percentage was 8.9. In 2015, extreme poverty levels stood at about 15 percent.
- Jobs are especially difficult to find for young people living in Greece. Half of the people between the ages of 15 and 25 are out of work. In some areas of Western Greece, youth unemployment is over 60 percent.
- Between 2008 and 2016, nearly half a million Greeks left the country. A year before Greece’s debt crisis arose, an exodus began. The main motive of the emigres was to find work.
- The Prime Minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras, wants to raise the minimum wage in Greece. According to a New York Times article, Tsipras “has vowed to reverse some of the harshest austerity after August. He wants to raise the minimum wage and possibly restore unions’ collective bargaining power, which was cut under the terms of the bailouts”.
- Greece’s Red Cross provides various services to those in need all over Greece. The Hellenic Red Cross has 75 offices and 42 committees. Their work includes centers for social support and integration of refugees, free vaccinations for infants and children, health services and education programs, housing assistance for the homeless and much more.
- One of the nonprofits in Greece called Boroume (which translates to “we can” in Greek) serves over 20,000 meals a day to those in need and helps to reduce food waste while increasing the food supply in over 80 locations in Greece. Boroume has provided those in need over 20 million meals since 2011 and has a team of over 700 volunteers. The organization has also saved and distributed over 100 tons of fresh vegetables and fruits.
- By April 2018, there were over 51,000 migrants and refugees in Greece. Many of the Syrian refugees paid smugglers to help them cross the Aegean sea to get to Greece. They arrived on the island of Lesbos in Greece where they were not permitted to leave until their requests for asylum were processed. If granted asylum, the refugees were allowed to go to mainland Greece and live in either subsidized housing or a refugee camp.
- The Hellenic Red Cross provides cash assistance to refugees stranded in Greece. They help asylum seekers to buy necessities such as food, clothing and medicine. By December 2017, the Hellenic Red Cross had helped 2,750 people.
These top 10 facts about poverty in Greece are important to know in order to understand the impact economic crises has on its citizens. Although Greece is starting to recover from its crisis, they still have a long way to go.
– Ariane Komyati