Poverty Rate in Armenia Nearly Doubles

An elderly man in Armenia next to his makeshift shack

YEREVAN (Arka)—The poverty rate in Armenia climbed 17.4% from 2008 to 32.4% in 2012, according to the Armenian National Statistical Service’s report, titled, “Poverty and the Social Panorama in Armenia, 2013.”

In its report, the National Statistical Service divides the poor into three categories – extremely poor, very poor, and poor. The extreme poverty rate in Armenia rose 1.8 times in the last five years while the rate of very poor people increased by 7.1%.

According to the statistical report, every third resident of the country – 32.4% (980,000 people) – lived in poverty in 2012. 13.5% (408,000) were very poor and 2.8% (85,000) extremely poor.

Poverty rates in urban and rural areas are similar – in cities it stood at 32.5% in 2012 after rising 17.7% from 2008, while in villages the rate rose 16.7% to 32.1%.

The lowest poverty rate was recorded in Yerevan – about 25.6% (1.6 times lower than other urban areas’ indicators). The poverty rate overall climbed 27.3% over the last five years in Yerevan, while in other cities it rose by 12.3%. 64.4% of poor people are urban residents.

The main factor of the 2008-2012 poverty rate increase was a sharp economic decline in 2009.

Earlier, Finance Minister David Sargsyan said that the poverty rate in Armenia is gradually decreasing. This slow but sustainable downward movement will continue along in 2014 thanks to increases in salaries and pensions, Sargsyan says.

The minimum salary in the country was 32,500 dram in 2012. The average monthly salary was 113,163 dram.

In July 2013, the minimum salary was raised by 30% to 45,000 dram.

Poverty Rate in Armenia Nearly Doubles

YEREVAN (Arka)—The poverty rate in Armenia climbed 17.4% from 2008 to 32.4% in 2012, according to the Armenian National Statistical Service’s report, titled, “Poverty and the Social Panorama in Armenia, 2013.”

In its report, the National Statistical Service divides the poor into three categories – extremely poor, very poor, and poor. The extreme poverty rate in Armenia rose 1.8 times in the last five years while the rate of very poor people increased by 7.1%.

According to the statistical report, every third resident of the country – 32.4% (980,000 people) – lived in poverty in 2012. 13.5% (408,000) were very poor and 2.8% (85,000) extremely poor.

Poverty rates in urban and rural areas are similar – in cities it stood at 32.5% in 2012 after rising 17.7% from 2008, while in villages the rate rose 16.7% to 32.1%.

The lowest poverty rate was recorded in Yerevan – about 25.6% (1.6 times lower than other urban areas’ indicators). The poverty rate overall climbed 27.3% over the last five years in Yerevan, while in other cities it rose by 12.3%. 64.4% of poor people are urban residents.

The main factor of the 2008-2012 poverty rate increase was a sharp economic decline in 2009.

Earlier, Finance Minister David Sargsyan said that the poverty rate in Armenia is gradually decreasing. This slow but sustainable downward movement will continue along in 2014 thanks to increases in salaries and pensions, Sargsyan says.

The minimum salary in the country was 32,500 dram in 2012. The average monthly salary was 113,163 dram.

In July 2013, the minimum salary was raised by 30% to 45,000 dram.

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18 Comments

  1. Hratch said:

    Perhaps this problem should be our number one priority. Wasting time and energy on irrelevant topics is currently our number one priority.

  2. Arman said:

    There are rivers of money pouring into Armenia from international lending institutions like the IMF, EBRD, ADP, and World Bank. In addition, hundreds of millions of dollars in migrant worker remittances and Diaspora telethon funds enter Armenia every year. How can the Armenian government of gangsters claim that the Diaspora’s money is being used well, when if anything Armenia is going backward and not forward? The criminals in the Armenian government are impoverishing both their own serfs and the Diaspora. At least let the Diaspora be free to utilize funds for Armenian Cause projects like films.

    • Arto2 said:

      Absolutely brilliant. Diasporan made films would solve all of Armenia’s present and future problems.

      • Arman said:

        I did not say films would solve Armenia’s present and future problems, you did. I am simply saying that at least one important issue must be allowed to go forward in the Diaspora without the expenditure being made to appear guilty because of its price tag.

  3. Varojny said:

    The last three sentences of the article read: “The minimum salary of the country was 32,500 dram in 2012. The average monthly salary was 113,163 dram. In July 2013, the minimum salary was raised by 30% to 45,000 dram.”

    If the “minimum salary” is monthly (as I assume it is), it should be worded as such to avoid ambiguity.

  4. Sarkis said:

    The title and the article itself are rather misleading in that they do not paint the whole picture but rather narrowly focus on Armenia, and thereby imply some defect in Armenia is causing increased poverty only in Armenia. The truth is that the entire world is suffering economically, especially the “democracies and free markets” of the west. One look at EU members Greece and Bulgaria should be eye opening. I’m sure Middle-class and new immigrant members of the Armenian-American community can also attest that their economic situation has gotten significantly worse over the same period (2008-present) that the article covers in Armenia.

    The reason Armenia, and the rest of the world, is facing increasing poverty rates is the economic collapse which happened in 2008, and the root cause of the 2008 collapse is the extreme corruption, excessive greed and total lawlessness to be found in America’s financial and banking sectors. The large scale theft, embezzlement and gambling of billions upon billions and billions of dollars by America’s oligarchs, banksters and sell-out politicians exponentially dwarfs any corruption which exists in Armenia or anywhere else in the world. Combine this with the disastrous effects of predatory lending by international financial institutions like the IMF (search for the excellent documentary “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” by John Perkins for an eye-opening documentary) and we can see the external factors which are dragging the world, including Armenia, into poverty.

    As for a solution, once Armenia finalizes its membership in the Russian-led Customs Union, harmonizes its trade legislation with other CU members, and see the elimination of tariffs on Armenian imports and exports to CU members, we can expect to see Armenia’s poverty rates decline again. As a positive sign, Russia has announced that it will eliminate the 30% export tariff on Russian gas exports to Armenia, meaning Armenia will buy Russian gas at domestic Russian prices… Also, once the Iran-Armenia railway is complete, and once the pro-Russian government just elected in Georgia moves to completely open the border of those two countries, then Armenia’s trade should see a massive boost, and poverty in Armenia should decline accordingly.

  5. Armanen said:

    Poverty has increased in most countries since the beginning of the so called Great Recession in late 2008.

    In the US we have seen several counties, and cities near bankruptcy. Detroit is the first major American city to go bankrupt, and the state of Michigan has one of the highest unemployment and poverty rates in the US.

    Is there more the Armenian government could do to combat poverty? Yes. Is this issue unique to Armenia? No.

  6. Harutik said:

    More the reason for Armenia to quickly join the Customs Union.

    PS: 1/3 poverty rate for a nation that is tiny, landlocked, remote, impoverished, blockaded and surrounded enemies in a nasty location like the south Caucasus? Heck, that’s actually the same rate as the poverty rate in the US, one of the largest, the most powerful and the wealthiest empire in world history.

  7. john said:

    like many here have pointed out , it’s the world economy in general that’s been plundered by the developed worlds financial mafia that’s the root cause of increase in poverty throughout the world. Of course the problem is worse in the developing countries.

  8. Arto2 said:

    Armenia’s poverty is first and foremost caused by it’s geopolitical situation as pointed out by Harutik and Sarkis. Once that issue is solved via the Eurasian Customs Union and the railway links then the situation will change. The real point is being missed by such shallow articles, and that is even with such a terrible economic situation the people are in, Armenia enjoys one of the lowest crime rates in the world. Imagine if citizens of Europe or US had to live in such difficult situations. There would be bloodshed on the streets daily.

  9. Arsineh said:

    Poverty did not need to increase in Armenia so drastically, and comparing it to other countries in this case is also misleading. Yes, the entire Western world declined economically, but most businesses in Armenia are either more corrupt or squeezed today more than just a few years ago. The rich got richer and the poor got poorer, and corruption has solidified it’s hold on this country even more in the last 3-4 years. That’s why everyone is leaving, and without a population, our economy will only dwindle more.

    • Gurgen said:

      What you don’t take into account is that Armenia’s exonomy is much more vulnerable than western economies because of blockade. That means it can be easily damaged and harder to repair. Stop comparing Armenia to other countries without understanding the basics in economics of blockaded countries. Armenia’s export and industrial output has actually begun to increase and will significantly do so more when CU membership is finalized. We don’t need to be put in billions of dollars debt by European “aid packages” and the IMF. Look at Greece, Cyprus, Spain… etc.

    • Armanen said:

      Care to provide objective sources for your claims? Are you aware that the gap between the super rich and the rest has increased in the majority of the Western states, particularly the US?

  10. GB said:

    Any private fund directed to Armenia’s poor section from Diaspora should be controlled by none governmental very ordinary Armenians!!No influential individuals who are tied up indirectly with MPs or oligarchy big belly vodka drinkers should be involved!!

  11. Leo Landau said:

    Well it was evident. Armenia had a chance to normalize its economical situation (in future) by gaining agreement with EU, and obviously willed to do this. But Russia didn,t allowed Armenia to reach it,s only salvation. Both EU and CU are aimed firstly for their own goals. But EU, despite of CU, gives a chance to Armenia to become a truly independent and democratic country, which will raise economy by itself. But now Armenia (de-facto Southern exlave region of Russia) will be weakening further, simultaneously loosing population and lending remains of economy and government to it,s “protector”.

    And CU is not the choice of Armenia. Russia just didn,t let Yerevan to go away, but also is not willing to accept as CU member. The same thoughts have Belorussia and Kazakhstan.

    Best regards!

  12. Anahit said:

    Corruption does not allow any of those poor (which are majority) to move forward with a better life. Why? Because the 1% that possesses country’s opulence are low-life scums that do not care about anyone. Being born in Armenia and knowing what it is like, I am whole-heartedly grateful for not living in a country like that. If you decide not to leave, your life will not be different no matter what to do. Yes, sure, people discuss that it’s world economy impacting the lives of those living in Armenia. No, really? Armenia such a tiny country, that such enormous global change would really play a role in its economy. It’s a country… if you do not promote corruption(inevitably), then you have bigger problems. I am so sorry for all of those who do live in Armenia and depend on government scums to better their lives. I’m sorry that my own people have to suffer, live in despair and have absolutely no sympathy for one another. I wish it was different, but it isn’t and do not see it being any different anytime soon…

  13. Pingback: Armenia Poverty Rate Falls After Six-Year Rise – Amira Wynn

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