An insight into the actual socio-economic situation of Romania

Szabó Béla

Abstract

Approximately half of the population experiences some degree of poverty while 10% live in extreme poverty (according to a report made by the Ministry of Labor, Social Solidarity and Family - MLSSF). This poverty has grown rapidly over the transition decade. Real wages, already amongst the lowest in Europe (including Central and Eastern Europe) in 1990, have since declined by approximately half. A high proportion of households, mostly those in rural areas, are engaged in informal economic activity such as small-scale farming, and it is estimated that at least one third of household incomes are in kind. High levels of poverty in the country tend to be associated with families of more than three children. The only ethnic group with a markedly distinct level of poverty is the Roma, who collectively experience 3.5 times the average poverty rate. Poverty appears to be up to half as prevalent again in rural areas (where over 45 % of the population live) compared to the urban areas, as there is also some regional concentration, often associated with declining of industrial activity.

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