Very uneven distribution of income in Serbia

In 2021, the richest 20 percent of the population in Serbia had 5.9 times higher income than the poorest 20 percent.

The inequality of income distribution in Serbia is high, as the indicator of the quintile ratio was 5.9 in 2021, according to the 2023-2025 Economic Reform Programme which the Ministry of Finance submitted to the European Commission on 31st January this year.

The quintile ratio, a measure of the inequality of income distribution, represents the ratio of the total income of the richest 20 percent of the population to the total income of the poorest 20 percent of the population.

Improving the adequacy of social benefits for the population below the poverty line and the redistribution of funds between existing programmes has been a challenge for many years, the Programme states.

Several options have been considered that will contribute to the increase of social benefits, but the government thinks it is necessary to wait for the effects of the implementation of the Social Card Law and the possible savings it could generate.

The Social Card Law came into effect in April last year, which is when the Social Card registry was created. The registry, as explained in the Programme, combines all the databases of all the state authorities, which enables better control of social benefits and fairer distribution of money for the most socially vulnerable categories.

In 2021, the poverty risk rate in Serbia was 21.2 percent, and compared to 2020, it is lower by 0.5 percentage points. Persons aged 18 to 24 were most exposed to the risk of poverty.

The average minimum consumer basket for a three-member household in Serbia was 39,623.18 dinars (337 euros) in 2021, while the poverty risk threshold for a three-member household (two adults and one child under the age of 14) was 43,315 dinars (368 euros).

“At the same time, the amount of social benefits received by a family of three stands at 17,244 dinars (147 euros), which is less than half of both the average minimum consumer basket and the poverty risk threshold “, it was stated in the Economic Reform Programme.

The following are listed as priority challenges in the Programme – 1. boosting employment, especially for young people, women and vulnerable groups and social protection against poverty. 2. creating a more favourable environment for business investments 3. the energy sector becoming more ‘green’ and complete opening of the energy market.

(, 08.02.2023)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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