Polish misery A.D.2002

The following text was edited and published as a piece of news at lewica.pl. Further it was published in The New Left's magazine "Lewizna"

"Almost half (45%) of Polish families can't afford to eat a meal containing meat, poultry or fish every second day. 67 per cent (two third) of them can't afford to buy a new or somewhat better quality clothing" - says the latest, passed over in silence by official medias, report of Central Statistical Office on households' economic and social conditions in 2002.

Nearly half of families have troubles to cater for meat, poultry and their preserves. One third of families can't afford to cater for preserves of milk and fruits and one fifth cannot afford to buy vegetables and their preserves. In half of examined householdes there were problems with sufficient house heating. In 73 per cent of households there was problem in organizing week-long holiday once a year. For 86% of households a furniture trade-in is a big problem.

Shortage of money constrains social activity: 46% of households were not able to make a party with friends that would include modest meal.

For one third of all households poor financial position made it impossible to go to dentist even if it was such a need. One fifth of families gave up a visit to physician. 28% of them was forced to give up of specialist medical examination or rehabilitation procedures. Above one third of all families can't afford to buy prescribed medicines.

Due to lack of money many households were not able to satisfy their educational needs. For almost 47 per cent of them expenditures on school were grievous financial burden. In the term 2001/2002 one fifth of families (with children at primary and secondary school age) resigned from or confined additional classes. One fifth of families restricted or stoped to pay for PTA (parent-teacher association) and class fund. 11 per cent of households coudn't afford to buy a required textbooks and 7 per cent were forced to give up school's lunch or meal.

Hard households' existence forced them to reduce spending on culture and holidays, including the newspapers, magazines and books. In the case of one fifth of families there were weeks when they didn't buy the daily newspapers solely due to lack of money in the first half of 2002. The purchase of periodicals (weeklies and monthlies) was not possible in the case of one third of households. Because of money shortage 41% families didn't buy any book for adults and one third of them bought no book for children.

In 2002 21% of households had done savings in any form (bank deposit, securities, shares, cash etc.). Low rate of savings was less than in two last years (23-25%). Research shows that only 11 per cent of households were able to do some savings from current income after making all needed expenditures. 55% of households declared that were not able to save up any amount of money from current income. At the same time 54% of housholdes which had any savings had them less than their 3-monthly income. One fifth had savings between 3 and 6-monthly income and less than 10% had savings higher than half-year income.

In the mid of 2002 18% of households felt that they were menaced by poverty and coudn't do anything about it. One fourth were concerned about poverty but would be able cope with that somehow. One third of households didn't fear poverty though they were afraid that situation would worsen. Only 8% of all households were calm about their future

CSO's research approved existence of huge and increasing financial diversity of Polish society. In general, households of self-employeed have the highest income and they are satisfied of life and households of pensioners and the unemployed have the lowest income and feel anticlimax.

source: www.stat.gov.pl

Issued on home page: 12 October 2003
Issued on lewica.pl: 7 May 2003
Issued on New Left's magazine: September 2003
English translation (by author): 8 November 2003