Urban population getting poorer
According to Ludmila Cherenko from the Institute of Demography and Social Research of the Ukrainian Academy of Science, for the fourth year in a row they are seeing a narrowing of the divide in terms of poverty between city and rural area. While it can be seen as positive, she says, that there is no longer such a gap, it is narrowing not because the situation in rural areas is improving, but because urban areas, especially people in small towns are becoming poorer.
Ms Cherenko talks of a “usually positive stable situation with poverty in Kyiv, and the Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv oblasts, as well as several eastern regions – Donetsk, Zaporizhya and Kharkiv. There is traditionally difficult in the Volyn and Kirovohrad oblasts, while the Rivne, Ternopil and Khmelnytski oblasts are sometimes also in this category.
There is progress on one criterion with a fall in the amount of absolute poverty, however there is a worsening of the situation with relative and structural poverty. There was a fall according to the international criterion of buying capacity from 2.5% to 1.7% in 2011 against 2010.
There was progress in 2010 with regard to relative poverty, however in 2011 the figures did not indicate any trend towards the pre-crisis level. In 2010 the figure was 24.1%; in 2011 – 24.3%. Given modest rates of economic growth they expect the figures for 2012 and 2013 to be similar.
The structural criterion is about the relation between the budget of the average Ukrainian and his or her consumption. People are considered poor when more than 60% of their income goes on food. In 2010 the percentage was 41.2%, while in 2011 it was 41.5% She says that the deterioration is not major, but that the positive trend has been reversed. Up till 2008 the trend had been clearly towards a reduction in this percentage and nobody imagined that this could be reversed. The current figure, she notes, is the same as in 2006.
This is also reflected in people’s self-assessment. In 2011 60% of Ukrainians called themselves poor, as against 57.8% in 2010. While it cannot be said that the government is doing nothing, reform is progressing with difficulty. Ms Cherenko believes that there needs to be a change in the principle of distribution of income.
From a report at UNIAN