Figures regarding the population living "under the absolute poverty line":
Fifteen million divergence in official and expert' statistics
Payvand.com -- A social welfare researcher referring to the
welfare indexes in the country said: Still a part of Iranian population lives
under the extreme poverty line not having enough income even to spend on food.
Iran's per capita income is about 300 dollars, whereas the rate for Kuwait is 26
thousands, UAE 25 thousands, Saudi Arabia 12.4 thousands and Amman 9.5 thousand
Saeed Madani in an interview with social correspondent of Iranian
Students News Agency (ISNA), asserted that optimistically the population living
under the poverty line has been announced to be one million. He added:
Nevertheless realistic assessments indicate that four to five million Iranians
now live under the extreme poverty line.
An Iranian family needs at least 140-150 thousand Tomans per
month for providing their food.
Considering an income of two dollars per day, one can see that at
least 9 per cent of Iran's population live under the extreme poverty line.
Pointing out to the extreme poverty definition, which is not
having enough income for providing two thousand calorie
per day for
each person (approved
by the Ministry of Welfare and Social Security), he said: In the most optimistic
case 1.5 to 2 percent of the population lack enough income to provide their
food. Independent experts' estimation indicates that at least five per cent of
Iran's population lives under this line.
Madani added: According to international assessments, the lowest
index assigned for extreme poverty line is one dollar per day, but because this
rate should be proportionate to inflation rate and the economic conditions of
each country, it has been suggested an index of two dollars per day for Iran.
Therefore considering the index of one dollar per day, an Iranian family of five
members should have 140-150 thousand Tomans income per month; with an index of
two dollars per day the same family should have 300 thousand Tomans.
This researcher acknowledged: Considering the one dollar per day
index, 1.2 percent and with the index of two dollars, at least nine percent of
the Iranian population lives under the extreme poverty line.
Deprived families use starchy food for gaining calories
Pointing to the fact that compensating the shortage of income to maintain the
minimum two thousand calories, the Iranian families are forced to chose cheaper
food items, he said: For example instead of having fruits, vegetables, dairies,
meat and protein, they provide their needs with starches, flour, macaroni, oil,
sugarcane and sugar, which are cheaper food items.
Indicating that the low income Iranian families are among one third of the
population not owning their house and living as tenants, he said: For this
reasons a considerable amount of their income is spent on accommodation
Although the official statistics show 9 to10 millions of Iranians living under
the absolute poverty line, experts estimate this rate to be 20 to25 millions.
Tehrani families must have 550 to 600 thousand Tomans to go above the poverty
line. Indicating that according to the Constitution not only there should not be
extreme poverty, but also there should not be absolute poverty, this social
researcher pointed out: Official statistics shows 9 to10 million Iranians living
under the absolute poverty line, but experts estimations announce this figure to
be 20 to 25 millions; therefore 25 to 30 percent of the population live under
the absolute poverty line. This means there are some who are not able to provide
their first needs for food, cloth, education and housing.
reminded: In addition to this it should be noted that these calculations are
based on national averages, whereas life expenses in prosperous and non
prosperous provinces are different. For example according to economic experts'
estimations being above the absolute poverty line in Tehran, means a family
income of 550 to 600 thousand Tomans per month, while in Sistan and Baluchestan
province this figure is 200 thousands.
Enduring poverty is influenced by the economic structure of the
Pointing out to the reasons of enduring poverty, Madani said: Enduring poverty
is the result of conditions in which no equal opportunities exists for poorer
people to get out of the poverty line. This is also influenced by the economic
structure in which there is hardly any chance for social activities for poor
people. For example poor families have hardly any access to higher educations.
Gender, housing and occupation are among the factors determining
the poverty risk
researcher acknowledged that sex is another important factor in increasing
poverty risk and told ISNA: The families with a female head of household are
more in danger of poverty in comparison to male head of household
families. The housing conditions can be added to this factor.
With one third of population not owning their house, and with considerable
increase in housing prices in recent years, many living on the boundaries of the
poverty line had fallen under this line. Occupation is another factor
interfering in poverty. The rise in importations and a reduction in investments
have caused warning levels of unemployment which puts more families in the
danger of falling under the poverty line.
Ministry of Welfare and Social Security policies are in
contradiction with the comprehensive welfare and social security law.
believes: Obviously The Ministry of Welfare and Social Security is responsible
for carrying out the comprehensive
welfare and social security general law, but unfortunately this ministry's
is in contradiction with this law in many cases. For example the
emphasizes on strengthening and enabling policy; the reason is to
reduce the direct providing of needs and to increase the personal and collective
abilities for securing the needs by poor people themselves, which means The
Ministry of Welfare should lead its resources to strengthening poor people, but
now welfare policies are generally to intensify and expanding the programs which
was under attention of beneficial and supporting systems.
Nevertheless the escaping rate of subsidies had been increased; every year a
considerable amount of the budget is spent on subsidies.
insisted that according to comprehensive
welfare and social security law,
the Ministry of Welfare and Social Security is responsible to maintain a general
statistical system, by actively searching for deprived social groups and helping
them preserve their dignity. He believes: Making the subsidies purposeful, which
is another important duty of the ministry of welfare, had been forgotten and
each year considerable amount of the country's budget is spent on subsidies,
whereas the subsidies escaping rate has also risen and this shows that the
subsidies doesn't totally passes to poor people but on the contrary passes to
the ones who don't need them at all. So The Ministry of Welfare and Social
Security haven't done much in making the subsidies purposeful. Although The
Ministry is responsible to participate in defining the poverty line for planning
and policy making purposes, but the Minister has emphasized and insisted many
times that he has no intention to announce the poverty line.
social welfare researcher explained in addition: The Minister of Welfare says:
"The law does not dictate any step even if the poverty line is defined."
Regarding this remark by the minister, I must say, unfortunately The Ministry's
management has shown that they ignore the constitution and the fourth economic
development plan. On the other hand the comprehensive
welfare and social security law has assigned duties to this ministry; according
the first paragraph of the law, one of the welfare ministry's
obligations is reducing inequality, poverty as well as participation in defining
the poverty line.
days, more than any time, the need for the ministry of welfare is felt.
emphasized: But this does not mean that we don't need the ministry of welfare,
but on contrary, now more than any time ever, there is need for such a ministry,
but only in condition that the minister carries out the comprehensive
welfare and social security law seriously; this needs an
understanding of the theoretical basis of this law.
article published in Persian by
Payvand.com by BMarz translators:
... Payvand News - 04/03/08 ... --