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Yearbook: Czech Republic has lowest poverty level in EU

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Prague, Nov 24 (CTK) – The Czech Republic has the lowest share of people threatened with poverty out of the EU countries when welfare benefits are calculated since only 9.7 percent of its inhabitants live on or below the verge of income poverty, according to the country’s statistical yearbook released on Friday.

The yearbook was issued by the Czech Statistical Office (CSU).

After the Czech Republic, the best situation in the EU is in Finland and Netherlands with 11.6 percent of inhabitants facing income poverty, while it is the worst in Romania with 25 percent.

The average poverty level in the EU 28 and the euro zone is 17 percent.

However, the trade unions and organisations helping people in need point to the problems of “working poverty” in the Czech Republic due to very low wages. Many people can hardly satisfy their basic needs though they do work.

The income poverty level corresponds to 60 percent of the national median income, which a half of inhabitants achieve.

Last year, the monthly income poverty line was set at 10,691 crowns per individual, 16,036 crowns per two adults and 22,450 crowns per family with two children under 13.

Trade unions criticise that people with the minimum wage earn only a net monthly income of 8,811 crowns.

This year, the gross minimum wage was 11,000 crowns a month and as of January it will rise to 12,200 crowns.

According to the statistical yearbook, the share of people under the poverty line has not changed in the Czech Republic in the past three years and remains 9.7 percent.

However, 44 percent household members with low education live in “income poverty,” along with 37 percent in the families of single mothers or fathers with children and one-fifth of people under 64 who live alone.

According to the study on the minimum wage and living standards conducted for the Tripartite Council of representatives of the government, unions and employers, 174,500 workers lived in poverty due to low earnings in the Czech Republic in 2011, which represented 5 percent of all employees. In 2015, their number rose to 299,000 (almost 7 percent).

Experts focused on the problem of working poor people at a national meeting against poverty and social exclusion held by the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) in Prague on Friday. They also debated a minimum dignified income and support for the elderly.

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