Romania is the poorest state in the EU, according to a study conducted by the Research Institute for Quality of Life (ICCV), quoted by Antena 3. Only Bulgaria and Poland measure up to us, with a number of extremely poor regions. In Romania, 18 pc of the population earn wages which are less than 40 pc of the national medium wage. In the ranking of the 20 poorest regions in Europe, Romania is featured with six regions, which roughly cover the entire surface of the country, the Bucharest-Ilfov area excepted. Bulgaria is the only country displaying a similar level of poverty in some regions. The North-Eastern region of Romania is featured next in the ranking, though poverty is rampant in the South-Western region as well. Romania’s South-Eastern region claims the eighth place in the ranking and is poorer than many regions in Poland. Despite the financial crisis, many underprivileged regions in Poland and Spain have managed to emerge from poverty with the help of European funds. However, this failed to occur in countries like Romania, Portugal or Bulgaria, which remain on the list of European states with a high number of underprivileged people. Austerity measures further reduced the Romanians’ purchase power – by over 9 pc in the course of a year. The net medium wage dropped in turn to RON 1,493. Last year, nearly half of the wage-earning population collected monthly wages under RON 1,000. Whereas an employee considered to live in “poverty” in the UK earns an average wage of EUR 967, an underprivileged Romanian employee earns EUR 159, that is, the lowest minimum wage in all EU states. On the other hand, the minimum wage in Bulgaria is EUR 233, while amounting to EUR 326 in Poland.
The underprivileged population cannot afford to change their home or purchase a new one. Out of the 7.4M homes in Romania, 44 pc are in rural areas and, out of these, 88 pc do not have a bathroom. The majority of underprivileged people in urban areas live in two-room flats furnished with the bare necessities. Only 36 pc of the households in Romania have a computer and 29 pc have a personal car.