Crisis: Greece, growing number of families at risk of poverty

Over 23% out of almost 2.5 million people

02 December, 16:41

    Students hold a banner reading 'The worse violence is poverty' in front of the Greek Parliament during a demonstration in central Athens Students hold a banner reading 'The worse violence is poverty' in front of the Greek Parliament during a demonstration in central Athens

    (by Furio Morroni) (ANSAmed) - ATHENS - More than one household in 5 (over 23%) was at risk of poverty last year in Greece, a country that has reached its sixth consecutive year of recession, according to the latest report just released by the Greek statistics institute (Elstat) on the economic situation of Greek families in 2012.

    Elstat's data showed that last year 914,873 families (for a total of some 2.5 million people out of a population of almost 11 million) did not have enough means for a decent lifestyle.

    The result was 20.1% in 2008 and 21.4% in 2011. Moreover children and adolescents under 17 years of age were more at risk of poverty, according to the survey.

    According to press reports, the number of those living under the poverty level has significantly grown in the past year (though there is no precise, recent data on this issue) - a level estimated at an annual income per person under 5,708 euros and under 11,986 euros for a family with two parents with a couple of children.

    The poverty threshold is defined as the minimum income a person or household needs to pay rent and essentials like food, transportation, clothing and education.

    A recent survey apparently confirmed the alarming data released by Elstat. The poll on the Greek economic context carried out by independent Dutch think tank Trendbox showed that 39% of Greeks were forced to ask family and friends for a loan in order to pay bills or other debts. Otherwise they were forced to pay with credit cards already in the red or use savings that are progressively shrinking.

    Most Greeks now prefer to pay older debts and postpone the payment of more recent ones. According to data by the Central Bank of Greece, in the first 10 months of this year the population, in order to pay off old debts, accumulated new ones for 7.2 billion euros (1.1 billion in October alone) while bank deposits shrank by 1.3 billion.

    Over half of the population (57%), according to the research carried out by Trendbox, said that 'every day in this country it is hard for all to keep their heads above water' while four in 10 Greeks polled admitted their income 'doesn't guarantee a decent lifestyle anymore".

    Besides, nearly half of Greek enterprises owe money to their employees, and only four out of ten employees are receiving their salaries on time. According to studies of the GSEE's Labor Institute - as daily Kathimerini reports - only one out of two Greek enterprises, are paying employees their monthly wages. According to the newspaper's report, there is an operation contract, under which the employees have agreed to receive their wages once every three months instead of every month. This operation contract has recently been submitted to the Greek Ministry of Labour. Meanwhile, the Department of Labour Inspection has traced many cases of employees that are working for more than eight hours, on wages equivalent to that of a part-time job. This of course is happening, due to the fact that the enterprises are declaring their employees as part-timers, even though they are working for eight or more hours.

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