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: / Strategies / Comprehensive Development Framework for the Kyrgyz Republic (2001)




Kyrgyzstan Review, 10 years ago




Appendix G. Scope of Poverty

Recent studies have revealed that over half of the countrys population remains poor. Every fifth rural citizen is rated as extremely poor. The poverty depth indicator(1) that reflects the average consumption deficit of the poor population in 2000 was equal to 17,7%.
After sharp decline of living standards in 1998-99 some positive developments were noted in 2000 (Table 1). This was a result of activation of the on-going reforms (mostly in agriculture), improved macroeconomic stability, and notable revival of production after the financial crisis. In this period the share of poor population declined by more than 3%, share of extremely poor by nearly 4,5% and depth of poverty by 2,1%.
Although rural poverty is higher than that in urban areas, reduction in rural poverty was more evident and equaled 3,6%. Reduction of extremely poor in rural areas amounted to 5,1%.
The share of extremely poor urban population went down by 4,4%. Nevertheless, despite the positive trends the share of poor urban population went up by 1,5%.
 
Table 1: Poverty in urban and rural areas (percent)
 
 
All-Poor
of these, Extremely Poor
Depth of Poverty
Intensity of poverty (2)
Year
Total
Urban
Rural
Total
Urban
Rural
1996
43.5
30.3
49.6
19.1
10.3
23.3
15.9
7.9
1997
42.9
22.2
55.3
14.8
4.9
20.7
13.9
6.3
1998
54.9
42.2
62.4
23.0
18.3
25.8
19.5
9.2
1999
55.3
42.4
60.0
22.3
17.1
25.6
19.8
9.8
2000
52.0
43.9
56.4
17.8
12.7
20.5
17.7
7.8
 
Unfortunately, the high level of income inequality still remains. During the period from 1996 to 2000, the consumption level of the wealthiest groups of the population was nearly 7 times that of the poorest sections of the population. The uneven distribution of consumption is also reflected in the Gini coefficient reported in Table 2.
 
Table 2: Gini coefficient (consumption expenditure)
 
 
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000(2)
Total
0.370
0.410
0.360
0.372
0.323
Urban
0.370
0.380
0.364
0.371
0.319
Rural
0.350
0.360
0.341
0.362
0.321
Ratio of Consumption Level of the wealthiest quintile of the population to the poorest quintile.
6.8 times
7.5 times
6.1 times
6.8 times
7.1 times
A major concern in the Kyrgyz Republic is the large number of children that live in poverty. Poorer families tend to have more children, and children under 14 comprise over 30 percent of the total population of the republic. Of these more than 61% live in poor families. Children with single parent are in a particularly difficult situation. The poverty rate among such is as high as 73 percent.
According to results of a survey on living standards in the country for 1998, the rate of unemployment among the able-bodied population was 11,5 percent. In urban areas unemployment is considerably higher than in rural areas. The unemployment rate among women in urban areas is higher than that of men. In the countryside, the situation is quite opposite unemployment among men is higher. The highest rate of unemployment was registered among youth aged 16-25.
 
Table 3: Unemployment by poverty level, 1998 (percent)
 
 
Unemployment Rate
Unemployment Rate by Age (age groups)
 
Urban
Rural
Total
16-25
26-35
36-55
56-60
Non-poor
18.5
11.0
14.9
21.5
15.7
11.4
5.1
Poor
15.5
6.3
8.8
9.3
7.7
9.7
7.7
Of which, extremely poor
12.2
5.7
7.4
6.9
5.8
9.0
13.1
Total population
17.3
7.9
11.5
13.8
11.0
10.6
6.3
 
According to the National Statistics Committees design data the average life expectancy in 1999 was 67 years; the birth and mortality rates have decreased in the past several years (3). Most of the countrys population rates their health as good (69,3 percent). Interestingly enough, extremely poor people rate their health as very good twice as often as non-poor population. Nevertheless, access to the state health care system, which is considerably different in relation to poor and non-poor, is characterized by out-dated approaches and requires urgent and efficient reforms. Charges for medical services and items paid by patients, both official and unofficial, increase as public financing of the health sector decreases. High cost of medical services hampers access of the poor to such services.
 
Table 4: Health status of the population depending on the poverty level and access to medicines, 1998 (in percent)
 
Rating of Health Condition
Total

Non-poor

Poor
Of these, Extremely Poor
1
2
3
4
5
Very good
22.1
11.3
20.5
28.2
Good
69.3
70.7
68.1
62.0
Bad
7.9
16.8
10.9
9.7
Very bad
0.6
1.2
0.6
0.1
Total
100
100
100
100
Of which:
 
 
 
 
Able of buying medicines
94.7
95.6
93.7
92.0
Unable of buying medicines
5.3
4.4
6.3
8.0
Reasons:
 
 
 
 
High cost of medicines
81.9
73.8
89.8
45.6
Remoteness of pharmacy
5.2
10.5
-
-
Other
12.9
15.7
10.2
54.4
 
 
 
 
 
Total
100
100
100
100
 
Only 2 percent of the population (1999 data) do not have education in the Republic. Despite such high literacy rate certain differences exist in education coverage by age groups and poverty status. Coverage of children with primary and middle secondary education is very high regardless of poverty status. Nevertheless, as soon as children reach 16 year of age, not only the ratio sharply declines but also a difference occurs in education coverage of children from households with different income levels. Monitoring of childrens access to education conducted in the last two years revealed the following most socially disadvantaged categories of school children: orphans and children with one parent (30,700 children), children without parental care (2,300), mentally and physically handicapped (3,200).
 
Table 5: Coverage with Education by Age Groups and Poverty Status, 1998 (percent)
 
Age Group
Total
Non-poor
Poor
of these, Extremely Poor
7-17
91.6
93.2
90.8
89.2
7-10
98.4
98.8
98.2
98.5
11-15
96.5
97.4
96.1
94.4
16-17
63.9
75.2
57.3
50.2
 
The study data revealed that poor households have limited access to public utilities. Electricity is the most accessible type of public utility.
 
Table 6: Access to Public Utilities by Poverty Status, 1998 (percent)
 
 
Total
Urban
Rural
Non-poor
Poor
of these, Extremely Poor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Running water
70.8
89.3
55.8
78.8
60.2
56.6
Electricity
99.3
99.2
99.4
99.4
99.1
98.6
Central heating
19.0
40.5
1.6
30.3
7.7
4.4
Telephone
45.4
62.6
31.4
58,6
27.9
19.8
 
The quality of provided utilities is not always high and many households receive such utilities either in limited quantity or irregularly. In regard to clean water almost one fifth of rural population uses rivers, springs and lakes as sources of drinking water.
 
Table 7: Sources of Water Supply by Residency and Poverty Status, 1998
 
 
 

Total

Centralized running water supply
Internal water system

 

Well

Stream, river, lake, pond
Transported water (barrel)

 

Other sources 

Total
100.0
70.8
4.7
3.8
13.5
4.7
2.4
Urban
100.0
89.3
2.2
2.1
2.0
3.0
1.4
Rural
100.0
55.8
6.8
5.2
22.8
6.1
3.3
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Non-poor
100.0
78.8
5.6
2.8
8.4
3.3
1.2
Poor
100.0
60.2
3.6
5.2
20.3
6.6
4.1
Extremely poor
100.0
56.6
2.2
7.4
19.3
8.8
5.7
 
According to the 1998 Kyrgyz Poverty Monitoring Survey (KPMS) families with pensioners are more prone to poverty. Nearly 61 percent of such families are poor and about 30 percent extremely poor. Poverty level also varies with the gender of the households head - probability to be poor is lower in families with woman as the head.
 
According to Ministry of Labor and Social Protection 487,500 people received uniform monthly benefits in 1999 with the average size of imputed benefits amounting to Soms 47,3 per month (US$ 1,2).
 
It is almost impossible for households with such small benefits to escape extreme poverty. Currently the uniform monthly benefits are not enough even to prevent further deepening of poverty.
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(1) Physical value of poverty depth: (depth of poverty)x(population)x(poverty line)=(total deficit of funds necessary for bringing poor population out of poverty)
(2) Weighted average quadratic deficit of income per household.
(3) The birth rate went down from 29.3 births per 1000 people in 1990 to 21.4 births in 1999. Total mortality rate decreased from 8.2 deaths per 1000 people in 1995 to 6.8 in 1999.