Higher consumption levels close spending gap between rich and poor Hungarian households

April 2, 2015

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Consumer spending among Hungary’s wealthiest households stagnated last year, spending for everyone else went up, and households were able to heat their homes thanks to the government-mandated price cuts on public utility providers, writes Hungary’s Central Statistical Agency in a recently released analysis.

According to the agency, after eight years of decline and stagnation, the real value of consumer spending rose 2.7 percent in 2014. The agency claims that an increase in employment, a rise in nominal and real wages, and government-mandated household utility price cuts contributed to the rise in consumer spending which, in turn, helped boost Hungary’s GDP.

Monthly per capita spending in 2014 was HUF 68,609 (USD 247). However, this number does little to explain the sizable difference in consumer spending among different households. On average, single-person households spent HUF 108,702 (USD 391) on utilities, transportation, food, medicine, communications, leisure activities, etc., not including funds set aside for savings. However, in the case of four-person households, per capita spending on the same items was only HUF 56,165 (USD 202).

The amount of funds available to a single person for consumer spending rose by HUF 1,644 (USD 5.91) over the previous year. Spending on groceries increased by 2.4 percent, and the largest gains in spending were in transportation and communications.  Out of twelve spending categories nine saw increases. Spending on alcohol and tobacco decreased by 3.5 percent.

Average household spending on home maintenance decreased HUF 900 (USD 3.24) to HUF 16,272 (USD 58.58), while energy consumption increased. The agency claims this is due to households “being able to allow themselves to keep their homes properly warmed”.

Higher-income households spent between 1.6 and 2.5 times more than the national average.  They also spent the most on home maintenance.

Consumer spending on the part of the bottom fifth of lower-income households increased the most in 2014, helping to close the gap between highest- and lowest-income household consumption.

Referenced in this article:

Fordulat Magyarországon – erre költöttek többet a gazdagok és a szegények, Napi.hu; 1 April 2015.