Deflation Helps Keep Cost of Living Little Changed in Bulgaria in Q1 2016
An average Bulgarian household of four needed BGN 2,230 (EUR 1,140) per month to meet its needs at the end of March 2016, a new survey has shown.
The sum for the basic needs of a households of two adults and two children (food, education, healthcare and housing), according to the survey conducted by the Institute for Social and Trade Union Research with the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITU).
The cost of living for a family of four was a touch lower at the end of the first quarter of 2016 compared with BGN 2,240 per month at the end of each of the previous two quarters as consumer prices continued to decrease, CITU Chairman Plamen Dimitrov said at a news conference on Friday.
Bulgaria's inflation rate at the end of the firat quarter (March 2016 compared to December 2015) was -1.0% and annual inflation (March 2016 compared to March 2015) was -1.5%, according to data from the state statistical office NSI.
Yet, almost 78% of Bulgarian households, or 5.7 million people lived below the cost of living of BGN 557.55 per person at the end of March, an official of the Institute for Social and Trade Union Research told the same news conference.
Those were mostly people from regions in northwestern and southwestern and northeastern Bulgaria (Vidin, Kyustendil, Blagoevgrad, Silistra) where the average monthly salary is about BGN 600.
Another 2.2 million people, or nearly 30% of households in Bulgaria lived below the absolute poverty line set at BGN 296.50 per person at the end of March, according to the survey.
Almost half of surveyed households, or 3.4 million people lived on monthly income of BGN 296 to 558 per person at the end of the first quarter of 2016. The figure was little changed both on quarterly and annual basis. About 25% of the households in this group had monthly income of BGN 297 to 390 per month and were under the threat of sliding towards poverty, Dimitrov explained.
About 22% of households, or some 1.6 million people had income higher than the cost of living at the end of the first quarter. The percentage of people in this income bracket has been gradually increasing due to growing demand for highly skilled and quality workforce, according to CITU.
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