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Social stratification deepening in Armenia

20 October 2014 [16:45] - TODAY.AZ


By Mushvig Mehdiyev

The deepening social stratification in Armenia has left 42 percent of the population unable to meet their basic needs. Current economic crisis in the country has a double effect on the population by simultaneously making the rich one richer and the poor one poorer.

"About 10.2 percent of the people in Armenia are extremely poor, while roughly 32 percent are just poor. Almost 13 percent of the country's population is well off," Head of Sociometer Sociological Center, Ahraon Adibekyan, said.

The UN criteria define poor those who live on less than two dollars a day. The people who survive on a dollar a day are the poorest or extremely poor. It reveals that almost one fifth of Armenians live an extremely poor life. Meanwhile, one third of the population lives under poverty line.

Adibekyan added that most of the rich residents keep their wealth private so as not be bothered by needy relatives. "Only 2.2 percent of them say they are rich," he noted.

Armenia is facing its second hardest economic trouble in recent memory after the tough economic crisis hit the ex-Soviet country in 2009. Many analysts and experts claim that the country is bearing the brunt of the present-day slump. Economic growth in Armenia is expected to be only 3.3 percent this year.

Adibekyan said the social stratification in Armenia has been overwhelmingly deepening. "Almost 42 percent of the residents in Armenia fail to meet their food and clothing needs. It means that the social stratification in Armenia is expanding and our republic is closing to the Asian type population with a small number of extremely rich and an army of extremely poor," he noted.

He further added that the bank deposits since early 2014 was slightly over $2 billion. That reflects the mistrust between the people and banks. Bank deposits of the Armenian population were around $2.8 billion in 2013.

Poverty is among the key problems which the Armenian government has failed to cope with. A large number of poor people live in most of the cities and regions of the country, including the capital city Yerevan. About 7 percent of the population is beggars who have pinned their hope on the money thrown to their cans. Poverty is far more threatening in Armenia's rural regions. Gyumri is reportedly the poorest region with its large number of homeless and jobless residents. About 1,200 residents in the region don't have houses to live in.

Skyrocketing emigration from Armenia is reportedly linked to the widespread poverty. Analysts say the absence of workplaces and permanent income sources trigger the people to earn their life abroad. For instance, nearly 49,000 residents, who left Armenia this year, refused to come back to the country as they found it easier to live beyond the borders.

Adibekyan said the poverty is an evil. "We need $150 billion to get out of the poverty hole. But we managed to gain only $16 billion during the two decades of independence," he noted.

Armenian authorities need an iron shield to protect the country from the economic crisis's continuous blows. It will otherwise destroy the country to erase it from the world's economic map. The current trend says black days are waiting for Armenia under the dead Sun to push it into the worst days in its history.


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