More than one in three Greeks close to poverty

More than one in three Greeks was at risk of poverty and social exclusion at the end of 2013, according to figures made public by the European Commission’s statistics service, Eurostat, on Tuesday.

The statistics showed that 3.9 million Greeks, or 35.7 percent of the population, were close to the poverty line at the end of last year, compared to 28.1 percent in 2008, before the country’s economic crisis struck.

The proportion of Greeks at risk of poverty or social exclusion puts Greece behind Bulgaria and Romania in European Union rankings, which assess people as being on the poverty threshold when they are living on 60 percent less than the national average disposal income.

Bulgaria topped the chart with nearly half (48 percent) of its citizens found to be living close to the poverty line, followed by Romania with 40 percent of its population deemed to be at risk of poverty.

The lowest rates of poverty and social exclusion were recorded in the Czech Republic (14.6 percent), the Netherlands (15.9 percent), Finland (16 percent) and Sweden (16.4 percent).

Meanwhile the results of a survey carried out by Greece’s National Center for Social Research (EKKE) and presented by the University of Athens on Tuesday indicated that the financial crisis has led Greeks to cut back on entertainment.

Greeks have cut back on cultural pursuits by an average of 15 percent over the past two years according to the EKKE survey, which said many respondents claimed not to have seen a concert or a play in several years.

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