RIGA - With the ongoing economic recession, self-assessment by households of their own material circumstances has also changed, with an increase in the number of households that rate their situation negatively, according to provisional data from a survey of households carried out by the Central Statistical Bureau, reports Nozare.lv. While every fourth household rated its material circumstances negatively in 2008, in 2009 every third household admitted to living in poverty or at the poverty threshold.
In total, 58.6 percent of households indicated that they were neither rich nor poor; 27.1 percent indicated that they were not poor, but on the verge of poverty; 8.8 percent indicated that they were not rich, but managed to live well; and 5.5 percent admitted living in poverty.
The predominant self-assessment is still “we are neither rich nor poor”; however, the number giving this answer fell for the first time in the last seven years. The number of households in this category has fallen 4.8 percentage points since 2008.
Last year the number in the category “we are not rich, but manage to live well” fell by 3.6 percentage points, while the number of households indicating that “we are not poor, but we are on the verge of poverty” grew by 7.1 percentage points.
There was a marked difference in self-assessments between the cities and the countryside. Rural areas showed a drop of 8.3 percentage points in the category “we are neither rich nor poor” and an increase of 10 percent in the category “we are not poor, but we are on the verge of poverty.”
The number of rural households assessing themselves as poor rose by 2.7 percentage points. In 2009, 6.1 percent of rural households gave this response, compared with 5.2 of city households.
The data shows that the situation in Latgale, eastern Latvia, has worsened to a greater extent than in other regions. A drop of 12 percentage points in the category “we are neither rich nor poor” was recorded here, with a corresponding rise in the category “we are not poor, but we are on the verge of poverty.”
The number of households in Latgale which consider themselves poor rose by 2.6 times, from 3 percent in 2008 to 7.6 percent in 2009. In other regions, such dramatic changes were not registered, according to the CSB.
Answering the question “how has the economic situation of your household changed over the last year?,” 75 percent of households surveyed admitted that it has worsened, with 22 percent indicating no change.
Emphasizing the extreme concentration of wealth in the hands of a very few in Latvia, the number of households who assessed themselves as rich was less than 0.2 percent.