132,000 Employed Croatian Residents Still Considered Poor

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, every tenth Croatian resident with employment, so a total of 132,000 of them, received a salary of less than 3,800 kuna for their work during the month of April this year.

The average salary of all 1.3 million employees in legal entities in April amounted to 7,082 kuna, but more than 60 percent of people, or 792 thousand of them, earn far less than that. Every other employee, 660,000 of them, receives less than 5,956 kuna, which is the median salary, writes Slobodna Dalmacija.

Back in April 2021, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) published data on the structure of employees by salary for March last year. It publishes this type of data once a year, and according to the latest data, 5.9 percent of full-time employees, or 64,810 of them, earned less than 3,400 kuna, which is this year’s minimum wage, and their share is probably similar this year.

It is expected that Croatian residents earning such a salary should somehow be able to juggle living, eating, and paying for utilities, and those who have a family have more expenses to consider. According to the 2019 Household Budget Survey, average consumption expenditures amounted to 93,522 kuna per household, or 7,793 kuna per month. Even the current average salary of 7,082 kuna can’t cover this level of consumption, in which food is the most expensive item.

Food accounts for 26 percent of total household consumption, or 24,538 kuna, which is 2,044 kuna in monthly costs for food and soft drinks. Costs for electricity, water, waste collection, repairs and the maintenance of apartments stand at around 704 kuna per month on average, and 410 kuna is the average monthly cost for subscriptions for TV, internet and phones.

When the food, utilities and communication costs are settled, the salary of 3,158 kuna has already disappeared. If the salary is 4000 kuna, there is a mere 842 kuna left for everything else, including transport, fuel, clothes, shoes, medicines, apartment maintenance, recreation, travel, morning coffees…

In order for someone to be statistically at risk of poverty, they need to have lower incomes than those set as the at-risk-of-poverty threshold, and in Croatia there were 742,644 such people registered in 2019.

The last published data on the risk of poverty are from 2019, in which the risk threshold for singles was 2,710 kuna per month, and for households with two adults and two children, 5,691 kuna per month. The median salary in 2019 was 5569 kuna, and the current medial salary for April this year was still 5956 kuna.

The average workers’ pension received by one million pensioners is currently 2,635 kuna. Because of such incomes, people have problems surviving: 1.44 million Croatian residents, or more than a third, live in households that find it very difficult to make ends meet at the end of each month.

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