Two-thirds of Armenians live in conditions of poverty

Two-thirds of Armenians live in conditions of poverty

Approximately two-thirds of Armenian citizens live in conditions of real poverty, no matter what the official numbers say, an ethnographer Hranush Kharatyan said today.

According to Armenia’s National Statistical Service’s report  called "Poverty and social panorama of Armenia," the poverty rate in 2015 was 29.8%, by 0.2% less than in 2014. The total number of poor people in the country was estimated at 900,000, 310,000 of whom were very poor, and 60,000- extremely  poor.

Speaking at a news conference Ms. Kharatyan said ‘the subjective perception of poverty in Armenia is mental in its nature.’  ‘People are ashamed or do not consider themselves poor. Therefore,  the National Statistical Service’s figures do not reflect the true picture of poverty across the country. The threshold of poverty is about 41,000 drams ($86) of monthly income per person and people with an income of 42,000 drams are not considered poor", - said Kharatyan.

She also noted that it is difficult to calculate the percentage of the population, who make the so-called middle class.

In turn, the head of Sociometer polling center,  Aharon Adibekyan, recalled that according to UN standards a person with the daily income of $2 is considered being below the poverty line and a person with the daily income of  $1 is considered destitute. "According to our latest estimates, about 50% of Armenia's population is below the poverty threshold, as their daily income is less than $2. By the way,  over 25% of their income is made of government provided benefits,» ARKA quotes Adibekyan as saying.

He added that according to a recent study, one-third of small and medium enterprises in Armenia are either not working or closed, which means that the number of people regarded as middle class declined.

"One of Armenia’s achievements is the accessibility of the Internet. Armenia is 17th. It also occupies the 35th position in terms of e-governance. Besides, our country is well positioned in terms of life expectancy," – Adibekyan said. However, he said according to a recent survey, about 70% of Armenian young people see their future outside their home country.

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