“Poverty in Bulgaria: factors, risk groups and challenges to social assistance” – discussion on that topic was held on March 17, 2015 in the “Radisson” hotel. The event was organized by the Institute for Market Economics. During the discussion, were presented results from a study conducted by Eurostat and the NSI on income and living conditions, according to which in 2013 one fifth of the population is at risk of poverty, and one in 10 is at risk of deep poverty. This group is lagging far behind the income of the middle class. According to the IME it is least influenced by changes in the economic environment and had practically fallen into a long-term and reproducing poverty.
Among most vulnerable groups influenced by the quality of education and the processes on the labor market are the unemployed and inactive people in the country. Every second unemployed falls at risk of poverty, and every third – at risk of deep poverty.
Child poverty is also high – a significant part of it is formed by families with only one parent or families with many children, who often have minority profile. The risk of poverty for those is particularly high – 2/3 of households with three or more children are at risk of poverty, and more than half live in deep poverty. IME’s main recommendations for to reduce child poverty are directed towards solving problems in the education system and in particular in school education.
On the meeting the National Network for Children was represented by Ivanka Shalapatova, executive director of “For Our Children” Foundation; Boryana Parvanova from “Habitat for Humanity – Bulgaria” and Dani Koleva from the Secretariat of the NNC. They endorsed the need to link social assistance to social work; systematic approach when working not only with children but also with their parents; to focus on policy and investment in early childhood development and pre-school education, which are with ROI coefficient rate of 7-10% per year. Housing policy and increasing social housing fund should also be part of the integrated, comprehensive approach to address the povertyin Bulgaria.
Translator: Dimitrina Parashkevova, volounteer