Kyrgyzstan - Poverty and wealth

Poverty in Kyrgyzstan increased between 1994 and 2000. IMF estimates of the consumer price index rose in 1995 to 143 percent, in 1996 to 189 percent, in 1997 to 233 percent, in 1998 to 252 percent, and in 1999 to 343 percent, and in 2000 to over 400 percent. At the same time, the index of real wages (adjusted for inflation and other factors) climbed only gradually from 100 percent in 1994, to 117 percent in 1995, to 112 percent in 1996, to 116 percent in 1997, to 139 percent in 1998, dropping to 128 percent in 1999 and further to 105 percent in 2000. Thus, while the cost of living increased fourfold between 1994 and 2000, wages remained approximately at the same level.

In 2000 Kyrgyzstan ranked 98 out of 174 countries listed on the UNDP Human Development Index. Income distribution and social indicators for Kyrgyzstan fell considerably behind other countries at comparable stages of

Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: Kyrgyzstan
Lowest 10% 2.7
Lowest 20% 6.3
Second 20% 10.2
Third 20% 14.7
Fourth 20% 21.4
Highest 20% 47.4
Highest 10% 31.7
Survey year: 1997
Note: This information refers to income shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita income.
SOURCE: 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM].

Household Consumption in PPP Terms
Country All food Clothing and footwear Fuel and power a Health care b Education b Transport & Communications Other
Kyrgyzstan 33 11 11 3 22 6 14
United States 13 9 9 4 6 8 51
Russia 28 11 16 7 15 8 16
Tajikistan 48 7 10 0 14 5 18
Data represent percentage of consumption in PPP terms.
a Excludes energy used for transport.
b Includes government and private expenditures.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

development. For instance, nearly a quarter of the population was not expected to reach age 60. The proportion of young people enrolled in schools dropped. The rates of infectious diseases, particularly tuberculosis, increased. By 1997 an estimated one-half of the population had fallen below the official poverty line, living on the equivalent of less than US$0.75 per day. The average monthly pension payment was among the lowest in the former Soviet states, amounting to less than US$10 in 1999.

Although on national average only 1 in 2 persons in Kyrgyzstan is categorized as poor, 80 percent of the poor live in rural areas. During the 1990s, despite substantial recovery in agricultural production, rural incomes per capita fell substantially. The degree of poverty in rural areas has also become more severe relative to urban areas. While extreme poverty decreased from 19.1 percent of the population in 1996 to 14.8 percent in 1997, most of this resulted from a targeted poverty reduction program in urban areas only. Poverty is also distributed unevenly in the population, affecting more women than men. The Kyrgyzstan government has initiated a national poverty reduction program, the Arakat program. Moreover, the government is waging major efforts to revamp its poverty-fighting strategy in coordination with major donors, including the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.

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