Albania - Poverty and wealth

Poverty in Albania is widespread due to limited job opportunities, low income, and limited access to basic services such as education, health, water, and sewerage. Under the communist regime, employment was almost total, and the government provided some livelihood for nearly everyone. In the 1990s, the collapse of the state-run farms and industrial enterprises, unemployment, organized crime, and corruption generated widespread new poverty along with numerous illicit fortunes. Many families came to rely on transfers from family members abroad as 25 percent of working-age Albanians emigrated, only a fifth of them legally. More than 17 percent of the population lived under the poverty line in 2000, and 90 percent of the poor live in rural areas. Sixty percent

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Albania N/A 916 915 842 795
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Greece 8,302 9,645 10,005 10,735 12,069
Macedonia N/A N/A N/A N/A 1,349
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000;
Trends in human development and per capita income.

of those heading poor households are self-employed in subsistence farming. The situation is worse in the north, where many rural families own less than 0.5 hectares. In Tiranë, there were about 800 street children in 2000 and child laborers numbered between 35,000-50,000 as need forced them to leave school early. Drug abuse, prostitution, trafficking in women, and child abuse have all increased with the economic hardship of the 1990s.

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