After having examined the study of the statisticians we can infer — how poor residents are well-to-do in Latvia. In any way, this population group here is getting rich fastest.
In particular: 20 per cent of the poorest residents of the country over the last years boosted their prosperity by 54.4 per cent. Whereas prices over this period have not grown practically and sometimes even deflation was recorded, we can talk of real improvement in living standards. Rather than of income growth “on paper”.
If to switch from per cent to euro, then in the most “hungry” recessionary 2010 income per a member of a poor Latvian family made up just 97 euro. In “prosperous” 2015 it (income) jumped to 150 euro. You can’t do a lot with it, but the trend itself seems encouraging.
But what is going on at the opposite pole? Wages of 20 per cent of the richest Latvians within the period from 2010 to 2015 grew by 44.8 per cent. In other words, income per one member of a financially sound Latvian family grew from 620 euro (2010) to 896 euro (2015).
The different rate of growth of income of the Latvian population resulted in reduction of Gini coefficient, which characterises the economic stratification of rich and poor residents of the country. In 2015 this coefficient made up 6.2 (in 2014 — 6.5).
Is that much or little? In the EU the economic stratification is characterised by figure 5.2. But this is an average temperature over a European hospital. The larger gap between the rich and poor than in Latvia is recorded in Rumania (Gini coefficient — 8.3), in Lithuania (7.5), in Bulgaria (7.1), Spain (6.9) and Greece (6.5). In Estonia the economic stratification is the same as in Latvia (6.2).
It is worth mentioning separately that the rating “poor – rich” is quite biased: in unwealthy Latgale comfortable living requires considerably less money than in posh Riga.
To avoid confusion, own scale of evaluation of prosperity of a person is created in Latvia. So, an “economically disadvantaged” Latvian is a person, who cannot afford, as the minimum, four of ten below listed positions:
1) to pay utility bills,
2) to pay bill for heating,
3) to pay unexpected expenditures,
4) to afford at least meat or fish every other day,
5) to have one– week vacation once a year, at least.
6) to buy a car,
7) to buy a washing machine,
8) to buy colour TV,
9) to buy a phone.