Two-thirds of Hungarians are considered poor on an EU level.
There are some major contradictions when it comes to salaries and the standard of living in Hungary. During the past year, prices in the country increased at an incredible rate, be it property, petrol, or grocery items. Restaurants and bars at Lake Balaton offer their meals for shockingly high prices that compete with the Adriatic level. Meanwhile, salaries and minimum wages are one of the lowest among the EU Member States.
Considering wages, most Eastern European countries have managed to catch up to the rest of the EU Member States over the past 15 years. There is one single exception: Hungary. Although the financial situation of Hungarians has improved, the increase does not exceed the European average.
It means that considering all EU countries between 2005 and 2017, Hungary did not take a step forward, 444.hu concluded from the research conducted by EUROSHIP. The project aims to provide an original and gender-sensitive assessment of the current gaps in social protection against poverty and social exclusion.
According to the paper,
a considerable portion of Hungarian society is regarded as poor on a European Union level.
To decide whether someone is poor or not, we need to take into consideration the notion of the “poverty line”. Those households are considered to be below the line where the income of the family is below 60% of the median household income level of the country. Those who live on less money than this amount are considered poor. Of course, it does matter whether you live below this line in Hungary, Romania, or Sweden.
If we consider all EU Member States together as one big country, we can set up the common poverty line at 60% of this cumulate median income. From here, it is quite easy to see the difference between the EU poverty line and that of the separate countries.
The British or Italian poverty thresholds, for instance, overlap with the EU median. Meanwhile, this number in Hungary only represents 40% of these countries’ household income levels. Looking at the rest of the EU members, only Romania and Bulgaria are behind Hungary.
Index.hu points out that
the Hungarian poverty line, which was 40% of the EU poverty threshold in 2005, stayed the same in 2017 as well.
The rest of the countries that joined the EU in 2004 managed to improve their overall financial situation over the years. During this time, Poland stood together with Hungary. However, by 2017, the country managed to increase its threshold to up to 70% of the EU median.
In certain countries, such as France or Finland, the poverty line is higher than the EU median. Only 5% of the population is considered poor.
As opposed to Hungary, where 75% of the total population lives below the poverty threshold.
Source: index.hu, 444.hu, EUROSHIP