More than half of Greeks struggle with social exclusion due to lack of money, education, jobs

More than half of Greeks live on the fringes of society because they lack money, a basic education and a decent home environment, according to a recent study by the National Center for Social Research (EKKE). EKKE examined the plight of Greeks using 11 European Union-set guidelines for social exclusion, which measured conditions such as financial stability, housing, education, job access and pollution. Almost 58 percent of Greeks say they meet at least one of those 11 criteria. Examined more specifically, the EKKE statistics paint a troubling picture. One in four Greeks says they do not make enough money to maintain a basic standard of living: They cannot pay their electric, heating or water bills or buy meat, fish and vegetables to eat every second day or afford a week’s vacation. One in five Greeks – 20.3 percent – lives below the poverty line. Another 11.3 percent haven’t completed a basic middle school education, while 9.6 percent live in a polluted physical environment and 8.4 percent live in bad family circumstances. In Attica, the most serious problems include the inability to pay for basic necessities (21 percent), a bad home life (16.7 percent), impending poverty (11.7 percent), and the lack of an informal support network (10.3 percent). The situation is worse in the rest of the country. One in three residents in central Greece, the Ionian Islands, western Macedonia and the northern Aegean Islands cannot pay for their basic needs. In Epirus, 37.7 percent of people live below the poverty line. In eastern Macedonia and Thrace, only one in five people (20.7 percent) have completed a basic education. In Crete and the northern Aegean Islands, some 14 percent of people are plagued by housing problems.