Romania’s communist government was overthrown 28 years ago. Since the fall of that government, the economy has vastly improved. Although there have been great improvements over the past few decades, there are still problems pertaining to poverty today. To understand this better, here are the top 10 facts about poverty in Romania.
List of Top 10 Facts About Poverty in Romania
- It has one of the highest poverty rates in the EU. As of 2016, Romania has a population of nearly 40 percent that is at the risk of poverty.
- There is a huge gap between the rich and the poor, among the highest in the EU. In 2017 they had an inequality level of 7. This means that the top 20 percent in Romania made seven times the amount that the bottom 20 percent did. This is a huge indication of the poverty in Romania.
- There is a huge housing problem. An estimated 30 percent of households in Romania live in destroyed dwellings or slums, have no security in their household and live under the threat of forced eviction. It is common for four or more family members to live in a single room in Romania. Although there is a public housing system to combat these problems, it is very inefficient and most people in Romania do not qualify for the benefits. Habitat for Humanity‘s volunteers are building quadruplexes, that will house four families, to address the housing problem. These quadruplexes are a low-cost housing solution that will help house many families throughout Romania.
- Child poverty is at an all-time high. Over half the children under 18 in Romania are at risk of poverty. These children do not have access to quality healthcare or education. The lack of resources makes it very difficult for these children to rise out of poverty. Although there are still a lot of people living in poverty in Romania, over the past several years, millions of people have come out of poverty and child mortality has decreased by two-thirds.
- Discrimination runs deep. Romas face discrimination and oppression in Romania which only makes it harder for them to rise out of poverty. The maternal mortality rate of Romani women is 15 times the rate of non-Roma women, and the government will not confront the issue.
- Poverty is at the highest in rural areas. 45 percent of Romania’s population lives in rural areas and 70 percent of this population lives in poverty. These areas lack in social, medical and educational facilities. Poverty in Romania is at its worst for citizens living in rural areas. The people living in these areas are mainly farmers and unemployed rural workers; they lack the capital to rise out of poverty.
- There is a lack of private management utilization. The communist government of Romania fell nearly 30 years ago, but the government still plays a large part in Romania’s economy. There are many state-owned enterprises that will not use private management despite pleas from the international finance and business community.
- Police brutality is a reality in Romania. There are many allegations of police abuse throughout the country. Romania lacks basic procedures to deter and avoid abuse and brutality. The rules that the police force currently have could, in fact, be making harassment easy. And the police are never held accountable.
- The government has committed to the fight against poverty. It aims to lift almost 600,000 people out of poverty by the year 2020. The objective is to ensure that all citizens of Romania have the same opportunities and are able to live with basic rights and dignity. After the financial crisis in 2008, the government created a plan to get Romania’s economy back on track. It implemented one of the largest post-crisis fiscal unification attempts in the EU. As a result of the government’s efforts, Romania is now in one of the best macroeconomic positions in the EU with only a 40-percent public debt to GDP ratio.
- Although there are poverty-related problems in Romania, it has the fastest growing economy in the European Union (EU). One of the decisions by the government that has helped Romania the most was joining the EU in 2007. The support of the EU has greatly improved the standard of living and economy. There was a 6.9 percent increase in 2017 which is the highest in Romania since 2008.
These top 10 facts about poverty in Romania highlight the need for continued focus on improving the living conditions in the country.
– Ronni Winter