Survey plots poverty patterns

About one in five Greeks lives under the poverty line, while some 8 percent of the population survives on less than 10.50 euros a day, according to the results of a large nationwide survey made public yesterday. The poll of 10,930 households, carried out in the spring of 2003 by the National Center for Social Research (EKKE) and the National Statistics Service (NSS), also established that very few of Greece’s poor have access to state social services – mainly due to ignorance, excessive bureaucracy, poor quality of services provided, long waiting lists and a lack of local service providers. As its definition of poverty, the survey used the figures set by Eurostat, the European Union statistics service, which are a maximum annual income of 4,800 euros for single people, 8,640 euros for couples with one young child, and 10,080 euros for couples with two children. Among the highest poverty levels were among people aged over 65 (28.1 percent), the unemployed (28.1 percent) and pensioners (65 percent) – compared to 15.7 percent of people with a job. A massive 55.2 percent of families with five children fell under the poverty line, followed by 36.6 percent of families with four and 25.4 percent for families with three children. Some 7.2 percent earned less than 10.50 euros a day, and 0.8 percent lived on under 70 cents a day. As regards education, only 0.1 percent of the survey’s respondents who were classified as poor had followed post-graduate university studies, or held a PhD. Some 42.9 percent had finished primary school, 18.6 percent had left primary school early, while 6.7 percent had no formal schooling. But nearly all (96 percent) owned a telephone and color television, half possessed a car and 64 percent lived in houses – as opposed to flats.