Number of poor increases by 20 per cent in Serbia

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Belgrade, Jan 13 (Tanjug) Over 100,000 more Serbiancitizens were below the poverty line in 2010 compared to 2009,Serbian president''s advisor for social issues Gordana Matkovichas stated, adding that the number of the poor has increasedby about 20 percent during the crisis.

"The figures regarding poverty and the standard of livingin Serbia sound alarming: about 650,000 people are below or onthe poverty line,almost 600,000 people have no jobs, which isby 140,000 more than at the beginning of the crisis," Matkovicstated in an interview for the Belgrade-based daily VecernjeNovosti.

She said that about 120,000 children do not haveessential things for a normal life, such as decent clothes,shelter, books and pointed out that 1.7 percent of universitygraduates are poor.

"According to the assessments for the first half of 2010,a total of 650,000 people are not able to satisfy the mostbasic needs," underscored Matkovic, who is also Director ofthe Center for Liberal-Democratic Studies.

She said that absolute poverty is measured by thecriteria of the World Health Organisation, which refer to thenecessary minimum food consumption.

Matkovic believes that there may be a stagnation ofpoverty in Serbia in 2010, mainly because of the suspension ofthe growth in unemployment and the new Law on SocialProtection.(Tanjug)

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