Located in West Asia, Armenia is a landlocked country with approximately 3 million people. From 2004 to 2015, the poverty rate in Armenia declined by 44 percent. Unfortunately, the country continues to struggle despite this improvement. The Asian Development Bank reports about 30 percent of Armenians are still surviving below poverty lines. Below are statistics that might answer the question: “Why is Armenia poor?”
- The first answer behind “why is Armenia poor?” has roots in the global economic crisis of 2008. This disaster delayed Armenia’s progress towards ending poverty. During the crisis, the country suffered a 5.9 percent economic recession and only 6.9 percent annual GDP growth. It wasn’t until 2013 that Armenia began to see small improvements with economic development. Today, growth exists, but it is very slow, with a GDP gain of about 3 percent.
- According to the Armenian Poverty Profile conducted from 2008 to 2015, the risk of poverty appears to be directly related to household size. This is because larger households have more children. In Armenia, homes with three or more children below 6 years of age have a 60 percent risk of experiencing poverty.
- In comparison to male-headed households, female-headed households are more likely to be poor. Almost 30 percent of the poor population resides in a female-headed home. This simply means that women can not support their families when they are the only source of income.
- People with higher education are less likely to be poor in Armenia. The poverty rate is the lowest among those with tertiary education. The rate was around 1.8 times lower than the national average for the population over 16 years of age in 2015.
- The final answer to “why is Armenia poor?” relates to labor markets. Lack of employment increases the risk of being poor or extremely poor. In 2015, the poverty rate among households with no employed members was 35.2 percent. This was 6.5 percentage points higher than the national average.
Armenia is in an endless battle to defeat poverty due to five main facts. These include the global economic crisis, larger households, female-run homes, lack of education and high unemployment rates. The country has been working with the World Bank to identify key challenges and opportunities associated with reducing Armenia’s poverty rates. Participation from this organization provides hope for sustainable growth, shared prosperity and poverty reduction in Armenia.
– Emilee Wessel