A new report was published recently about the living standards in Hungary: what is the minimal amount of money that you need to make a decent living in Hungary, and how much you would need to live well, according to your tastes. However, this time, the researchers relied on women’s opinion – reports penzcentrum.hu.
Policy Agenda is responsible for reporting on the living wage since 2015. In that year, 41 percent of the Hungarian population managed with less the defined 285 euro living wage, which meant that a family of four had 825 euros per month. Last year the percentage of Hungarians managing with less than the living wage decreased to 36 percent. Thus, if a family of four consists of two working adults and two children, they had to manage with 830 euros, and even though the minimum wage was roughly 240 euros in 2016, and 275 in 2017, the family would still not earn above the living wage.
Researchers at Szent István Egyetem Gödöllő have conducted a survey on what Hungarian women think would be the minimum amount of money a family would have to earn to barely make a living, to make an average, decent living, and lastly, to live well, within the confinements of reality.Button
The survey examined how much these amounts vary according to age, income, identity, residence, the size of the family. These are the major findings:
Another finding of the survey is that single people believe that a household like theirs could barely make a living out of 405 euros. Someone who lives in a household of four said that they need 175 euros per person to sustain their household, so that the whole family would need 698 euros. To live quite well, singles believe that they’d need 1,560 euros, while a representative of a household of four answered that 485 euros would be needed per person. Concluding this, when it comes to barely making a living, the amount of money singles believe they would need is double the amount per person in a family of four. This amount is triple, however, when talking about making a good living.
The research team (Dr Nándor Komáromi, Dr Nikolett Mihály and Ramóna Rónai) believe that those who are not tied by the responsibilities that a family represents, are more imaginative regarding financial opportunities. Someone who has a family, is used to having limits, their time is divided between work, family and tasks around the household, thus they don’t see that much opportunities money-wise. Another possible explanation is that a single person has to pay the bills by themselves, while in a household of four, this is divided between the family members. This is very important to consider in those cases, where most of the income is spent on bills (even if families are saving on bills since a cut to household utility bills).
Almost 200 women answered the questions, and even though 10 separate categories were distinguished, most of these women defined themselves either as ‘mother’ or ‘independent woman’. Mothers believe that less money is needed to make a living (in all three categories), than independent women. While mothers believe that to barely make a living 475 euros is enough per person, independent women would say that 553 euros should do it. When it comes to ‘living well’, mothers say one would need 1,610 euros, independents say 1,745 euros. The reason for this might be that in Hungarian households women are responsible for money, so their thinking about the living wage is more grounded.
There are striking differences between the age categories. Women aged 18-25 believe that barely 1,440 euros are needed per month in a household, women aged 36-50 think that 1,940 euros per month are needed, while women over 50 believe that only 1,600 euros are needed.
Besides the demographic factors, these opinions are highly influenced by how much the women in question earn. Those who have higher earnings (the earning per person is above 808 euros), think that to barely make a living you would need 270 euros per month, and to live well 910 euros are needed. Those who earn less (485 euros per person), say that 235 are enough to barely make a living, and that you could live well from 737 euros. Those with the highest income (1,130 euros per person) believe that 720 euros and 2,370 euros are needed.