Statistics Lithuania has announced data showing that 22.2% of Lithuania‘s population risked falling into poverty last year. Economists were quick to note that this trend repeats year after year, but that statistics do not show the real situation.
The prevalence of poverty risk, compared to 2014, has increased by 3.1%. In total, 640,000 thousand Lithuanians lived on income that made them vulnerable to poverty. Threshold income, set for statistical purposes, was €259 per month for a single person and €574 for a family of two adults and two children under 14 years old.
Lithuanian Free Market Institute president Žilvinas Šilėnas noted on social network Facebook that “This is not an indicator measuring poverty, but income inequality. People‘s wages are rising, average salaries are rising as well, raising the poverty line. That is why in Lithuania every fifth man lived in poverty before the crisis, during the crisis and after the crisis. Using this technique we could find those who live in poverty among the 100 richest people in the world.”
Economist Tautvydas Marčiulaitis says that Lithuanians get taxed like Scandinavians, but paid wages by their employers like Venezuelans.
The average retirement pension last year was €240.3, below poverty income. According to Statistics Lithuania, this means that pensioner residents who received an average or even slightly higher pension and had no other income, found themselves below the poverty risk line.