Euractiv: What does it mean to be poor in Serbia?

In Serbia, as well as in EU countries, poverty is discussed from the perspective of the risk of poverty, which in our country, according to the latest available data, stands at 21.2%. A fifth of the population has a monthly income below the poverty line.

According to the latest available data from 2021, the poverty line was 24,064 dinars, an income received by a fifth of the Serbian population. The most vulnerable population segments are people between the ages of 18 and 24 and those over 65. Households consisting of two adults with three or more dependent children had the highest rate of risk of poverty.

“One-fifth of the population cannot meet the basic needs of life. Namely, in 2021, the minimum consumer basket amounted to an average of 39,622 dinars. Income poverty is only one dimension of poverty. However, the measurement method does not include the (un)availability of health, educational, social and a number of other services in society. Definitions of the poor also include people who do not have access to a healthy environment and have no influence on decision-making that affects their lives,” Professor Natalija Perišić, PhD, from the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade says.

According to the February 2023 data collated by the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs, the number of welfare beneficiaries stands at 185,382 persons (80,521 families).

“Given that unemployment leads to poverty, all measures taken to encourage employment have a direct impact on reducing poverty,” the ministry said.

According to data from the National Employment Service (NSZ), also from February 2023, Serbia had 429,351 unemployed persons, of which 239,928 were women (56%) and 83,372 (19.4%) were young people aged 15 to 29. The number of unemployed decreased by 51,613 persons or 10.7% compared to the same period of the previous year when it stood at 480,964.

“In the last ten years, the number of registered unemployed persons has continuously decreased. Compared to February 2013, when the number of unemployed stood at 790,292, that number in February this year was 360,941 persons or 45.7%”, the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs explains.

However, Professor Perišić says that employment does not immediately imply a lack of poverty, although employment is the best way to fight poverty. She says that employed persons can still experience poverty and that the most vulnerable groups – such as children and the elderly – are incapable of working, hence employment is not a solution for them.

(Euractiv, 06.04.2023)



This post is also available in: Italiano

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