Tárki: 1.7 million Hungarians live in poverty

April 11, 2015


According to a recent Tárki study, 17 percent of Hungarians lived in households whose net monthly income did not exceed HUF 78,000 (USD 350) in 2014.

69 percent of the impoverished households belong to Hungary’s Roma (Gypsy) minority.  62 percent of the households are led by someone who is unemployed.  50 percent consist of three or more children.  44 percent are headed by individuals lacking higher education.  31 percent are headed by a single parent.

For every 100 Hungarians living in poverty, 31 are children and 13 are pensioners.  One third of those living in poverty belong to households led by individuals who are unemployed.  Another third belong to households led by the only employed household member.  Only 5 percent of Hungary’s poor live in the capital Budapest.  The rest live in the impoverished northern, southeastern, central and southwestern regions.

According to the report, the likelihood of households with three or more children living in poverty grew significantly between 2012 and 2014.  However, the percent of those suffering from serious material deprivation actually decreased from 37 percent to 28 percent during this period, as well as the percentage of households consisting of only unemployed individuals (from 15 to 9 percent).  Furthermore, the percentage of people suffering from poverty or social exclusion decreased from 42 percent in 2012 to 35 percent in 2014, according to the study.

This is partially due to the public work program which essentially provides Hungary’s unemployed with at least three months employment or paid studies, albeit at substantially below minimum wage.  Tarki, however, cites improving macroeconomic figures and low inflation as the main reason for improvement.

The Tarki study also revealed that roughly one quarter of household income goes to service debt, and that indebted Hungarian households spend 70 percent more each month on debt service (HUF 55,000) than on food.

According to the study 22-28 percent of Hungarians between the age of 30 and 50 have debts.  Seven percent of Hungarian households have arrears to public service providers.  In the case of households with other debts, this increases to 17 percent.