65% of Households Unable to Cover Cost of Living

65% of Households Unable to Cover Cost of Living

 February 8 (BTA) - The monthly cost of living of a four-member household (two adults and two children) in Bulgaria has reached 2,542 leva. The monthly cost of living per household member is 635.53 leva, Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB) President Plamen Dimitrov said Monday during an online presentation of the findings of a CITUB survey on consumer incomes and the cost of living in the last quarter of 2020.

To cover the cost of living, each of the two adult members of an average four-member household should earn a net monthly income of 1,271 leva, Dimitrov said. The survey shows that 22 per cent of Bulgarian households (1.6 million people) earn up to 363 leva per household member per month. The amount represents the poverty line in 2020. Another 43 per cent of households (3.1 million people) earn incomes which are between the poverty line and the cost of living, that is, between 363 leva and 635.53 leva per household member per month. The remaining 35 per cent of households earn more than the cost of living - more than 635.53 leva per household member per month.

In other words, the incomes of 65 per cent of households are equal to or below the cost of living. Six out of 10 households are unable to cover their living costs.

Incomes from employment can vary considerably between one region and another and between economic sectors, and these differences are growing, according to CITUB. In nine out of 28 administrative regions, the average monthly wage is below 75 per cent of the nationwide average. The lowest average wage has been reported in the regions of Blagoevgrad (922 leva), Vidin (945 leva) and Silistra (953 leva).

A drastic decrease of the average wage has been observed in the economic sectors which have sustained direct damage from the COVID-19 pandemic, CITUB expert Violeta Ivanova said. In the travel industry, the average wage has dropped by 29.4 per cent and the number of employees has declined by 40.3 per cent. Air transport has seen a 28 per cent fall in the average wage and a 19 per cent decrease in employees.

On the other hand, the average wage has increased most notably in the sectors where the government has been pouring money to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, such as healthcare, social services, education and civil service. The inter-sectoral gap has become considerable, with average-wage differences of up to sixfold, Ivanova said.

Data also show that the average hourly wage in Bulgaria is 2.40 euro, compared to 13.20 euro EU-wide. RI/VE

Source: Sofia