Making ends meet when disposable income won’t stretch

Two methods are used to assess poverty. The first, used by the EU and in official Greek statistics, sees those who spend less than 60 percent of the per capita consumer average as poor. Calculated on that basis, the poverty line in Greece is deemed to be 850 euros (net pay, 14 salaries a year) for a four-member family, which means that 20 percent of Greeks fall below the poverty line. The second method compares household income and expenditure with a total sum that covers the basic household necessities. The ceiling is calculated over the course of a year. It produces more realistic results, where poverty is not measured in relation to others but to the ability to meet basic needs. «Nowadays, a three-member family needs 1,600 euros a month to meet their basic needs. In non-urban areas, that figure falls to 1,300 euros. Every additional child creates the need for around 300 euros,» explained economist and writer Dimitris Kazakis. «This comes from the processing of family budgets by the NSS. Two-thirds of families cannot meet those needs,» he noted. According to the poor themselves, responding to a survey in 2005, the minimum net monthly income needed to meet the needs of a household was 1,399 euros (compared with 2,099 euros for those who were not poor). «If the poverty line corresponded to those figures, then 50 percent of the population would be poor,’ commented Kikilias.