Twenty-two per cent of Bulgarians were below the poverty line in 2018, the National Statistical Institute (NSI) said on April 30.
For the first time, the NSI’s annual report on poverty and social inclusion indicators included a question about ethnicity, though it was not compulsory for respondents to answer.
This found that the highest share of poor in Bulgaria were the Roma ethnic group, at 68.3 per cent, while for ethnic Bulgarians, the percentage was 15.6 per cent, the NSI said.
The institute said that the highest proportion of working poor was among the Roma ethnic group, 28.6 per cent, compared with 26.5 per cent among the Turkish and 25.3 per cent among the Bulgarian ethnic groups.
The NSI said that in 2018, the average monthly poverty line for Bulgaria was 351.11 leva (about 179.50 euro) average per person.
It said that the poverty line was the same as in 2017, while the share of the poor population decreased by 1.4 percentage points. The social protection system contributed considerably to the decrease of poverty, according to the NSI report.
The report said that in 2017, the percentage of those below the poverty line in Bulgaria was 23.4 per cent, compared with 22.9 per cent in 2016, 22 per cent in 2015 and 21.8 per cent in 2014.
Poverty estimates by type of household, show that poverty is concentrated among elderly single-person households older than 65 years, single parents with children and households with three or more children.
In 2018, 26.6 per cent of children aged 0 – 17 years in Bulgaria were at-risk-of-poverty or 2.6 percentage points less than in 2017. Social transfers decreased children’s poverty rate by 14.9 percentage points, the NSI said.
The highest share of people at risk of poverty was in the districts of Montana and Veliko Turnovo, 26.2 per cent each, Lovech 25.8 per cent and Sliven, 25.5 per cent.
The lowest were in the districts of Pernik 11.2 per cent, Kyustendil and Razgrad, 14.7 per cent each, and Rousse, 14.9 per cent, the NSI said.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)