This year World Day of the Poor was held on November 19, 2023. As for Lithuania, it is one of the poorest countries in Europe. It is the fifth from the bottom in the EU in terms of poverty risk, ahead of Romania (21.2 percent), Latvia (22.5 percent), Estonia (22.8 percent) and Bulgaria (22.9 percent).
Around 107,000 people or 3.8 percent of Lithuanian population live below absolute poverty line.
These figures are not just statistics. There are real people with their troubles and fears behind such figures. According to LRT, the percentage of people in Lithuania who feel anxiety and stress has increased from 20 percent last spring to 25 percent currently. The overall rate of those experiencing emotional challenges is at 65 percent.
The reasons of this stress are different. The first reason is war conflicts in Europe. Unemployment is the second most common reason for increased stress and anxiety, as 19 percent of respondents cited work-related problems.
The rise in inflation is the third reason, as 14 percent mentioned it as the cause of their anxiety, up from 13 percent six months ago, followed by financial worries and poverty (10 percent).
The survey showed that younger respondents (25-35 years old) are more likely to worry and feel stressed.
The survey involved 1,016 respondents aged between 18 and 75.
It should be said that official statistics do not reveal the true scale of poverty in Lithuania, according to a new study. Almost one in five people in Lithuania are struggling to make ends meet.
Officially, around 586,000 people in Lithuania were at risk of poverty in 2022. However, the true number may be much higher.
The recent study conducted by universities in the Baltic States, showed that a large segment of people in need is not included in public data. “Statistics usually include socio-demographic factors like income, age, gender and so on. State decisions are made based on only one or two of these dimensions, but statistics do not capture attitudes, people’s motivations or look at a combination of several factors,” said Valters Kaže, Vice Rector of Riga University of Applied Sciences.
Poverty, anxiety and stress lead to mass exodus of young people from the country. And this exodus in its turn is one of the main reasons for falling birth rate and depopulation of Lithuania. Lithuania is getting poorer and emptying.