Slovenia - Poverty and wealth

Before 1991, Slovenia was the most prosperous of the former Yugoslav republics and, arguably, of all Eastern European countries. Since independence, it has stayed away from political and economic disturbances that have plagued the region and has been cautious in its reform policies, displaying continuity as well as an affinity to consensus. Although unemployment is still an issue, the new government has pledged to cut it by 20 percent, while increasing social assistance by 60 percent and pursuing an active social housing policy. Pension funds have generally run a balanced budget, as any shortfalls in revenue

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Slovenia N/A N/A N/A 9,659 10,637
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Germany N/A N/A N/A N/A 31,141
Hungary 3,581 4,199 4,637 4,857 4,920
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.

Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: Slovenia
Lowest 10% 3.2
Lowest 20% 8.4
Second 20% 14.3
Third 20% 18.5
Fourth 20% 23.4
Highest 20% 35.4
Highest 10% 20.7
Survey year: 1995
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].

(mostly derived from payroll contributions) have been covered by government transfers. Privatization, although slow, has been more transparent than elsewhere in the Balkans and has not led to serious charges of corruption and illicit fortunes. The rule of law has kept crime on lower levels, thus contributing to social stability and justice. Slovenia has avoided poverty of the proportions of other economies in Eastern Europe.

The structure of consumption in Slovenia is closer to central European models than to its Balkan neighbors, and private consumption per capita is more than twice the level in Bulgaria. Due to its socialist legacy, in 1995,

Household Consumption in PPP Terms
Country All Food Clothing and footwear Fuel and power a Health care b Education b Transport & Communications Other
Slovenia 27 8 14 4 16 11 20
United States 13 9 9 4 6 8 51
Serbia N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Hungary 25 5 17 6 20 12 15
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.

Slovenia was still considerably more egalitarian than Greece or the United States. The poorest 20 percent controlled 8.4 percent of the nation's consumption (compared to 7.5 percent in Greece and 5.2 percent in the U.S.) while the wealthiest 20 percent consumed 35.4 percent (40.3 percent in Greece and 46.4 percent in the U.S.). Slovenia's Gini index in 1995 was 26.8, while Greece's was 32.7, and the United States' was 40.8. Economic growth over the next decade and the accession to the European Union will further increase living standards for the Slovenes.

According to the United Nations Development Programme, Slovenia is a leader among Eastern European countries measured by its human development index, almost equaling those of the poorer members of the EU.

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