Despite the impact of austerity on their household budgets, Greeks continue to spend a significant portion of their monthly income on private health and education to supplement public services, new research has revealed.
According to the family budget survey for 2017 compiled by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), Greek households spent an average of 7.3 percent of monthly expenditure – or 102.44 euros – on health services.
The finding puts Greece near the top of the European Union’s chart for private spending on health with Bulgaria next in line with 7.1 percent.
Comparatively households in the United Kingdom paid 1 percent of their monthly budgets on health services, with Spain and Italy following with 3.4 percent and 4.8 percent.
The burden on single-person households in Greece is greater, according to the survey, particularly in the case of pensioners. For instance, the average monthly layout for health services for over-65s accounts for 13.4 percent of the monthly budget.
According to the ELSTAT survey, the average Greek household devotes 20.4 percent of its monthly budget to food, with 14.1 percent going to housing, 12.9 percent to transport and eating out at 10.5 percent.
The biggest cutbacks during the crisis years were made in the purchase of cars (down 61.6 percent since 2008) and clothes and shoes (down 56.7 percent).
Meanwhile, according to a study by the Markos Dragoumis Center for Liberal Studies (KEFIM), households paid a total of 1.548 billion euros for the primary and secondary education of their children in 2016 – which amounts to 38 percent of the state’s expenditure on education (3.9 billion euros) and 0.85 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
Greece is slightly below the European Union average in terms of the percentage of GDP spent on primary and secondary education. In 2015, the average expenditure of families per pupil (kindergarten to high school) per year in 2015 stood at roughly 3,200 euros.