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Seda Hergnyan

Armenia: Wealthiest Get Richer, Poorest Remain Poor

Poverty in Armenia dropped a smidgeon last year, from 30% in 2014 to 29.8% in 2015.

The 3% increase in the economic growth rate in 2015 wasn’t enough to make a substantial change in the poverty figure.

Poverty rates for Armenia for the past six years have outstripped the 27.6% rate registered in 2008, this per the country’s National Statistical Service (NSS).

In 2015, 70.2% of Armenia’s population was considered not poor. Of the remaining 29.8% considered living under the poverty line, 19.4% were “Poor”, 8.4% “Very Poor” and 2% “Extremely Poor”.

The poor are those with incomes of not more than 41,698 AMD per month. (US$87 at the rate of $1=479.48 AMD). The very poor are those with monthly incomes less than 34,234 AMD ($71.40). The extremely poor have monthly incomes of less than 24,109 AMD ($50.28)

An interesting point raised in the NSS report on poverty in Armenia deals with consumption levels.

These levels clearly show that the poorest in Armenia have either remained on the same level, or fallen back, after the international financial crisis of 2008, and that the wealthiest have gotten wealthier still.

NSS data shows no consumption increase amongst the poorest (first decile) between 2008-2015, and just an insignificant increase in the second decile (0.1% in seven years). These are the poorest strata of Armenian society.

Not registering an increase in consumption means that these strata experienced no progress-that they were just a poor in 2015 as in 2008. It is possible that they became even poorer.

And the wealthier in Armenia became even wealthier. This is evidenced by the consumption increase in all other decile groups during the same period.

The highest rate of growth (15.2%) was registered in the tenth decile group.

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