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The well-being of children and young people in difficult economic times

The well-being of children and young people in difficult economic times






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    The well-being of children and young people in difficult economic times The well-being of children and young people in difficult economic times Document Transcript

    • This study has been prepared by Maja Gerovska Mitev, Ph.D, Institute of ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Social Work and Social Policy, Faculty of Philosophy, Skopje Field Research: Centre for Research and Policy-Making The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the The author would like to thank all collaborators in the realization of this study, policies or views of UNICEF. particularly the staff at the Centre for Research and Policy Making: Zidas Daskalovski, Nikola Stalevski, Ana Mickovska and Bashkim Bakiu. The author is especially grateful to the external experts engaged by the CRPM—Professor Sasho Kozuharov, Professor Maria Donevska and Svetlana Trbojevic—for their thorough and systematic analysis in relation to the UNICEF regional CIP – Каталогизација во публикација questionnaire on the impact of the crisis. Finally, the author is thankful for the Национална и универзитетска библиотека „Св. Климент Охридски“, Скопје practical guidance and support provided by the UNICEF Country Office. Last but not least, special gratitude is extended to all surveyors and respondents 364.4-053.2/.6(497.7)”2008/09” to the field questionnaire and participants in the focus groups engaged in the process of this study. GEROVSKA Mitev, Maja The well-being of children and young people in dificult economics times / [by Maja Gerovska Mitev]. - Skopje : UNICEF, 2010. - 82 стр. ; 21см Библиографија: стр. 68-70. - Содржи и: Annex ISBN 978-9989-116-54-4 а) Социјална заштита на деца и млади – Македонија – 2008-2009 COBISS.MK-ID 82515978 3
    • ACRONYMS CONTENTS: CCT – Conditional Cash Transfers Acronyms 4 Executive Summary 7 EU – the European Union Introduction 11 FES – Friedrich Ebert Foundation GDP – Gross Domestic Product PART ONE: 15 THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DIMENSIONS IMF – the International Monetary Fund OF THE ECONOMIC CRISIS MDG – Millennium Development Goals The economic dimension of the current crisis and its 15 MICS – Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey impact on households MKD – Macedonian Denar (currency) The social dimension of the economic crisis and its 18 NBRM - National Bank of RM impact on households The Government’s response to the economic crisis 23 NPF – New Pension Fund PAYG – Pay-as-you-go PART TWO: 29 KB – Komercijalna Banka THE WELL-BEING OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE DURING ECONOMIC CRISIS - RESEARCH RESULTS UNICEF – United Nations Children Fund UNDP – United Nations Development Programme Methodology 30 Standards of Living 34 VAT – Value Added Tax Education 41 Health and Nutrition 46 Housing 50 Leisure Time 53 PART THREE: 61 KEY FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Key Findings 61 Recommendations 66 References 68 4 Annex 70 5
    • EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The main objective of this study is to engage in additional economic activities identify and analyse the effects of the to supplement reduced household in- difficult economic times and the cur- comes. These assumptions were made rent economic crisis on the well-being on the basis of changes that have oc- of children and young people through- curred among households, children and out the former Yugoslav Republic of young people in twelve month period Macedonia. An additional objective is (from September 2008 to September to provide an assessment of the vul- 2009). nerability of those families most at risk in difficult economic times. The methodology employed in this study involved a combination of quali- For the purposes of this study, the fol- tative and quantitative research. The lowing key assumptions were made as qualitative research methods included to the probable impacts of the financial a review of policy and research litera- crisis on the well-being of children: ture, a summary of all available statis- (i) a rise in unemployment, a reduction tical data, and consultation with focus in salaries, and greater irregularity in groups. The focus groups were com- the payment of wages—all of which posed of 5 targeted categories of the have a negative impact on the ability population: of households to provide children with (i) families with members recently regular access to basic needs and serv- made redundant from the textile and ices; metal industries; (ii) reduced access to education and (ii) families living on remittances; poorer educational performance; (iii) families depending on agriculture (iii) a reduction in children’s exercise as their main source of income; of their right to basic healthcare and (iv) larger families with five or more a corresponding deterioration in chil- members; and dren’s health; (v) families receiving child allowance. (iv) a reduction in household expendi- ture on housing and the needs of chil- The quantitative research involved a dren; and primary field survey based on a nation- (v) a decrease in children’s leisure-time ally representative, stratified sample of 7 and recreation as a result of the need to households with children. The sample
    • was stratified as follows: according under consideration, with the conse- Although this study does not assert a di- This study further concludes that a to ethnicity, with an equal number of quence that more than half (56.4%) rect and significant relationship between child-friendly policy during economic households from the country’s Mac- were unable to fully provide for the the economic crisis and children’s right crisis should be based on a more ex- edonian, Albanian, Turkish and Roma schooling needs of their children (this to education and basic healthcare, it is pansionary fiscal policy, including in- communities; according to region, with applies primarily to the cost of school important to note that financial difficul- vestment to generate greater employ- an equal number of households per re- supplies, but also to travelling and oth- ties during the period under considera- ment, investment in basic services and gion; and according to location, with er expenses). In addition, the economic tion led to 8.8% of children experienc- incentives to increase consumption in an equal number of households in ur- crisis contributed towards a reduction ing problems with access to education, terms of housing, goods and services. ban and rural locations. This stratifi- in the incomes of approximately one while 9.3% lacked access to regular cation made it possible to analyse the third of households, further restricting health check-ups. This study signals the need for more impact of the economic crisis on those their ability to mitigate the effects of diverse, improved and regular official households generally considered to be the crisis and provide for their children Similarly, while the economic crisis statistics on households, with data most socially vulnerable: Roma fami- may not have directly caused a dete- relating to health, housing and leisure lies, families living in less developed While the economic crisis may not rioration in the housing conditions of time. Such data would provide a more regions, and families living in remote have contributed directly towards an children, this study shows that more accurate insight into different aspects than 40% of children were living in of household standards of living, in the locations. increase in poverty among children, overcrowded dwellings in the year of form of disaggregated data in relation this study indicates that 48.1% of the the economic crisis, sharing premises to all household members (including The study acknowledges the difficulty households interviewed were living be- with several other families. Lack of suf- children and youth). An improved da- of establishing a clear and direct link low the poverty line in terms of their ficient rooms—and lack of privacy, in tabase would also enable comparisons between the economic crisis and the household monthly incomes over the particular—can have a negative effect over and between years. well-being of children. This difficulty twelve-month period. This figure for on children’s development, especially arises from the following causes: the poverty differs from the official figure of on their learning capacities. The study The study also indicates the need to lack of available national baseline data 28.7% for 2008 primarily because the also found that 57.4% of households raise awareness amongst the socially concerning regular households in a official calculation is based on house- reduced expenditure on their children’s vulnerable population of their basic number of important areas (e.g. the hold expenditure while the figure in our needs over the 12-month period un- rights to social protection and the obli- lack of specific data on health, hous- study is calculated according to house- der consideration, primarily in the ar- gations which stem from these rights. ing, and leisure time)—data which hold income per month.1 Another rea- eas of clothing, entertainment, pocket- Awareness-raising should serve both to could be compared over and between son for this difference lies in the strati- money, and school supplies (including expand the coverage of health protec- years; the difficulty of separating the fication of households in the sample expenses for extra-curricular activities tion among children and increase their impact of pre-existing unfavourable so- employed in our study, comprising an such as foreign language classes, com- access to education. cio-economic conditions in the country equal number of households from eth- puter courses, etc.). (i.e. high rates of unemployment and nic groups, an equal number of house- Finally, on the basis of the trends ana- poverty) from the impact of the global holds from rural and urban families, and In light of the trends observed in the lyzed, the study proposes a set of rec- economic crisis; and specific challeng- an equal number of households per sta- well-being of children in the year of ommendations for greater financial sup- es related to surveying the well-being tistical regions—a stratification which the economic crisis, this study sug- port and active measures to improve of children—such as changes in health allowed a greater focus on households gests that government support should youth employment opportunities, to and nutrition conditions. generally considered to be most at risk. be more specifically targeted towards prevent child poverty and child labour, It is also disturbing to note that 21.7% helping the most vulnerable households and to enable the development of bet- Despite the above mentioned chal- of the households interviewed for this with children. ter housing and living conditions. lenges, this study outlines important study were living without any income information as well as baseline data in or in conditions of extreme poverty. relation to the living standards, educa- The significant number of households tion, health, housing and leisure time living in poverty implies that many chil- of families during times of economic dren lacked essential financial resourc- crisis. es and adequate living standards dur- ing the period of economic crisis. This This study shows that the well-being of especially applies to younger children, children and their access to goods and as the highest proportion of children services during a period of economic living in poor households were aged be- crisis is most affected by increases in tween 0 and 6. As a consequence, the household living expenses due to infla- right of children to basic social services tion. Rising living expenses affected such as education and healthcare was 89.3% of households in the period placed at risk. 8 1 The Eurostat calculation of poverty is also based on household income. 9
    • INTRODUCTION The pressures and threats arising enrolment of children in education and from the global financial and econom- a rise in the occurrence of child aban- ic crisis—most visible in the period donment (Harper et al., 2009). The 2008/2009—had diverse effects in Asian economic crisis of 1997–98 saw different places. In countries already a decline in birth rates, an increase in undergoing difficult economic times, malnutrition amongst children under the such as the former Yugoslav Republic age of five, and a rise of up to seven of Macedonia, the global financial cri- per cent in child mortality rates (ABC, sis exacerbated pre-existing problems 2009). Also during the Asian economic such as limited foreign investment and crisis, it was found that young work- high rates of unemployment and pov- ers aged between 15 to 29—especially erty, all of which contribute to high young female workers—were the ones levels of social insecurity. In such an who suffered most from job losses environment, finding appropriate cop- (Lee and Rhee, 1998). In such circum- ing strategies at both national and in- stances, the behaviour and activities dividual (household) levels proves very undertaken by parents and other adult difficult. family members are extremely impor- tant for children’s mental, physical and In times of economic constraints, chil- material well-being. The challenges of dren can be particularly adversely af- financing education and finding appro- fected. Their regular activities and their priate employment, moreover, become access to goods and services may be far greater for young people during pe- restricted or even totally halted, with a riods of economic crisis. negative effect on their overall develop- ment, health and comfort. As depend- The purpose of this study is twofold. ent family members, children cannot It will attempt to analyse the overall individually contribute to the mitigation wider economic and social implications of such negative influences. Evidence on children caused by the difficult eco- from Central and Eastern Europe and nomic conditions in the country, and the the Commonwealth of Independent response of the government to the cri- States (CEE/CIS) shows that economic sis. In addition, it will attempt to assess transition has led to reductions in the the most recent changes in standards 11
    • of living amongst households in order regarding the socio-economic effects to identify the major threats posed by of the crisis on children in the country. the current economic crisis to the well- The sources for the data considered being of children and young people in this first chapter are mainly govern- throughout the country. mental institutions such as the State Statistical Office, the National Bank Beyond these two goals, the study will of the Republic of Macedonia (NBRM), also aim to illustrate how macroeco- the Ministry of Labour and Social Poli- nomic measures and social policies cy, and the Employment Agency. The in times of crisis can be highly effec- timeframe of the analysis spans from tive in mitigating the difficulties faced 2007 to mid-2009. by vulnerable households. As noted by other authors (de Vylder, 2004), Due to the scarcity of more recent the adoption of a pro-child strategy in data, particularly regarding the well- times of financial crisis does not entail being of children and young people in the pursuit of imprudent policies lead- the period of economic crisis analysed ing to high rates of inflation. Indeed, here (Q4/2008 and Q1–Q3/2009), the the effects of high inflation on income study employed a primary research tool distribution tend to be worst for poorer in the form of a national stratified sam- households, as the rich have greater ple in order to assess the impact of the opportunities than the poor to diversify economic crisis on children during the their assets and activities as a safe- last 12 months. The results of this re- guard against inflation. search are given in the second part of the study, organised into the following On the other hand, monetary policies five sections: living standards; educa- designed to control inflation, such as tion; health and nutrition; leisure time; the imposition of higher interest-rates, and housing. In addition, this second can be labelled child-hostile since they part provides an analysis on the basis have a direct bearing on the afford- of focus group discussions. The house- ability of acceptable dwellings. Unde- holds which participated in these dis- veloped financial markets and lack of cussions are generally considered to be access to credit for poor families also those most at risk during economic cri- have a negative impact in areas related sis: households with members recently to housing and to the development of laid-off or recently unemployed; house- small-scale and micro-enterprises. For holds dependent upon remittances; this reason, moderately inflationary households with numerous members; policies tend to have a less negative agrarian households; and households impact on young families with chil- receiving child benefits. These house- dren—families, that is, which are often holds were selected because they tend indebted. As indicated by de Vylder, an to be under-represented in most official erosion of such families’ debts through nationally representative samples. inflation may be in their interest. Apply- ing de Vylder’s theory, this study will Finally, the study ends with a set of con- analyse whether current government clusions and policy recommendations measures in response to the economic based partly on an analysis of official crisis can be defined as pro-child, child- government data and partly on results neutral, or negative child policies. On from the primary field research and the the basis of this analysis, the study will focus group discussions. In this way, offer recommendations for child-friend- the study delivers concrete baseline in- ly policies that can be implemented in formation and data on the well-being of times of economic crisis. children and young people during the economic crisis in the country, while This study is structured in three parts. also offering policy proposals to address The first part provides a review of pol- these problems in periods of global and icy and research literature, as well as national economic constraints. 12 a recap of the available statistical data 13
    • PART ONE: THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DIMENSIONS OF THE CRISIS The economic dimension of the crisis and its impact on households The global financial crisis increased eco- the middle and upper income groups, nomic insecurity in the country. This mainly due to the higher demand for had both a general negative impact in less-skilled workers on lower wages. terms of the reduced macroeconomic However, a study of social spending stability of the country and specific during economic crises in seven Latin negative impacts at the level of house- American countries has shown that holds in terms of increased uncertainty every 1 percent decline in GDP was as to future income, purchasing power associated with a decline in spending and financial capacity. per poor person of about 2 percent (De Ferranti et al., 2000; Alderman and Although GDP growth in 2008 amount- Haque, 2006). Comparative forecasts ed to a substantial 5%, quarterly analy- of real GDP growth rates for 2011 put sis shows growth dropped significantly the country’s growth rate close to that in the last quarter of 2008 to 2.1%. In of Romania, higher than that of Croatia, 2009 GDP continued to decline and the but lower than the rates of Bulgaria and year ended with a negative growth of Turkey (Table 1). -0.7%. The rate of inflation for 2009 was -0.8%.1 Monetary policy was tightened during 2008 by raising the reference interest While it is widely recognized that a de- rate on several occasions. As indicat- cline in GDP leads to an overall wors- ed by the NBRM (2009), such upward ening of household welfare, not all pressure on interest rates combined households are equally affected. Sahn with increased inflationary pressure, (2002), for example, argues that the especially on prices for food and ener- welfare of the poor in such situations is gy products, had an adverse effect on reduced much less than the welfare of the purchasing power of households 1 State Statistical Office official data 15
    • Table 1: Comparative real GDP growth rates of the former Yugoslav Republic Graph 1: The structure of household loans in 2008 (by type of interest rate) of Macedonia, other EU candidate countries, and the EU-27 1.4% 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 5.9 4.9(f) - 0.81 1.5 (f) 2.5(f) 11.3% European Union (27 countries) 2.9 0.8 - 4.2 0.7 (f) 1.6(f) Fixed Interest Rate Croatia 5.5 2.4 - 5.8 (f) 0.2 (f) 2.2(f) Variable Interest Rate Turkey 4.7 0.9 - 5.8 (f) 2.8 (f) 3.6(f) 87.3% Romania 6.3 6.2 - 7.1 0.5 (f) 2.6(f) Adjustable Interest Rate Bulgaria 6.2 6.0 - 5.0 - 1.1 (f) 3.1(f) (f) = forecast Source: Eurostat, 2010 Source: NBRM (2009), on the basis of data submitted by the banks and restricted their ability to negoti- report for 2008 suggests that the ten- ate the servicing of existing debts or dency of banks to transfer interest further decrease the profits of both pri- outlook for their improvement (NBRM, the arrangement of new loans from the rate and currency risks to their clients vate pension funds. The risk to financial 2009, p.21). Furthermore, private banks. represents an additional risk for the stability and the threat to the house- transfers covered only 53.6% of the household sector in terms of increased hold sector from negative rates of re- trade deficit in 2008, as opposed to The expenditure of households on indebtedness and reduced capacity to turn on investments in pension funds is 84.1% in 2007, with a tendency for personal consumption exceeded their repay debts (2009, p. 31). The cur- currently mitigated by the fact that the further decline. The lower inflow of disposable income in 2008. Essential rency risk and the possibility of further first important liabilities for payment private transfers has an impact on the products accounted for approximately changes in interest rates directly con- out of these funds will only fall due in primary sources of existence for many 73% of such expenditure in this period, tribute to an increase in the financial twenty to thirty years. However, this is families and their children. This im- almost half of which comprised expens- liabilities of households, leading to a an important signal for pension policy pact is especially strong among certain es for food and beverages. This finding decline in the wealth and standard of which should be taken into considera- ethnic communities, such as Albanian is mirrored by the average value of the living of households and a threat to tion so as to diminish risks to future and Turks, who rely on these transfers consumer’s basket for food and bev- their credit worthiness. pensioners. more than other ethnic communities in erages in December 2008, at 72.4% the country. A statement by the presi- of the average net salary in the same Many households suffered a loss of Although there are no reliable statistics dent of the Chamber of Commerce of period. Bearing these figures in mind, capital in this period due to negative on the precise percentage of the Mac- North-Western Macedonia confirms together with the fact that changes in annual rates of return on pension fund edonian population working abroad, this observation: referring to the im- food prices accounted for some 70% assets and, to a lesser extent, reduced the reduced inflow of private transfers pact of the financial crisis, he stated of average inflation in 2008, it is clear capital gain from securities traded on during 2008 indicates that the global that the two major problems in the re- that any future rise in the prices of es- the official market and the market for recession resulted in a loss of jobs for gion were the low demand for services sential products will trigger an increase public companies. Annual rates of cap- a large number of Macedonian citizens and the reduced transfer of funds from in household expenditure with the po- ital gain on securities were negative working abroad and a reduction in the abroad.3 tential to decrease standards of living for almost every month of 2008. The incomes of those who remained em- and reduce household funds set aside annual nominal rate of return on pen- ployed. Research from other countries Particularly exposed to the negative as savings (NBRM, 2009, p. 27). sion funds became negative from May shows that the largest percentage of impacts of the crisis were those house- 2008 and registered the most negative received remittances is spent on ele- holds with members employed in the Tightened conditions of lending intro- level of 9.9% toward the end of 2008. mental needs such as food and cloth- sectors most affected by the economic duced by domestic banks resulted in a In 2009, members of the NPF private ing, while a significant share is also downturn, such as the metal and textile lower demand for credits on the part pension fund lost all the profits they spent on education and healthcare.2 industries. Low demand has affected of households in late 2008 and early had gained over the preceding three The inflow of private transfers was espe- all industrial sectors, especially those 2009. This tightening of credit condi- years. According to data from March cially low during 2008, falling by 5.8% which are export-oriented, but it is the tions weakened the coping strategies 2009, insured persons from NPF suf- compared to 2007, with a worsened metal industry that was hit hardest as of some categories of the population— fered a loss in the amount of -0.05%, e.g. middle income groups—who use while persons insured by the other pri- loans as a means of paying essential vate pension fund, KB, increased their 2 For more information please see: “Dynamics of Remittance Utilization in Bangladesh”(2005), IOM; Acosta, A. (2005). Remesas de la Emigracion y su Impacto Socioeconomico, mimeo, Ecuador Field bills and for services (household mort- deposits by only 2.16%. The duration Office, UNICEF; Bryant, J. (2005). Children of international migrants in Indonesia, Thailand, and gages, utility bills and summer holi- and severity of the financial crisis will the Philippines: A review of evidence and policies. Innocenti Working Paper, UNICEF; Coronel, E. & Unterreiner, F. (2005). Social Impact of Remittances on Children’s Rights. The Philippines case. 16 days). In addition, the NBRM financial continue to impact upon and probably UNICEF, Manila. 17 3 Interview on TV – A1, 29.04.2009
    • a result of last year’s fall in the prices the already difficult social conditions of Table 2: Activity, Employment & Unemployment Rates among Youth in the of metals on international markets—a those households which are generally country in the 2nd Quarter of 2009 fall which led to many companies being considered the most vulnerable, such unable to cover their production costs. as households with no employed mem- 2009/II Activity rate Employment Rate Unemployment Rate The companies in this sector attempt- bers, multi-member households, and ed to avert the need to lay off work- those living on subsistence agriculture. Total (15-24) 35.7% 16.1% 54.9% ers by sending over 2,000 employees It may be assumed that children from Female (15-24) 28.2% 11.4% 59.4% on mandatory leave of absence while these types of households experienced maintaining the production process at difficulties in terms of regular school Male (15-24) 42.8% 20.5% 52.2% minimum capacity and working to com- attendance, regular health check-ups, plete deals commissioned before the lower possibilities for extra-curricular Source: State Statistical Office, 2009 start of the global economic downturn. activities, as well as increased demand The situation is similar in all export- for extra household work. of unemployment in the country. Al- al employment, the unemployment rate oriented sectors, such as the textile though high unemployment affects all rose again in the 4th quarter of 2008 to and food industries. The construction sector, meanwhile, has suffered from The social dimension age categories, it is particularly dev- astating among young people aged 0.5 percent more than the 3rd quarter of 2008. In these two critical quarters falling investments and the restrictions placed by banks on access to loans. of the crisis and its between 15 and 24. Rates of youth of 2008, the first and fourth, the ma- participation in the labour market show jority of jobs were lost by workers in impact on households that young females are the category the 50–64 age-group. In the last quar- Overall analysis of the economic con- ditions in the country in 2008/2009 and children most affected by high unemployment: their rates of activity, employment ter of 2008, a rise in unemployment is also noticeable among young people implies that the global economic crisis and unemployment are not only lower aged 15–24. However, it seems that has worsened the economic position Unemployment than average but also lower than these the overall unemployment rate stabi- of households by limiting their sources rates among males aged 15–24. The lized thereafter, remaining at 31.9% in of income, increasing their difficulties Although there is a very thin line be- reasons for this may be connected to the second quarter of 2009. in servicing household debts, reducing tween the economic and social dimen- ethnic and cultural factors, as young their possibilities for borrowing, and sions of the crisis, with a number of females of Roma, Albanian and Turk- According to ethnicity, and on the ba- exacerbating already difficult condi- overlapping features, this part of the ish origins tend to be more included in sis of data given by the Employment tions for employment. Analysis of the study seeks to outline the additional ef- family obligations at a much younger Agency, the majority of jobs losses in official data shows that the worst-af- fects of the global economic crisis on age than ethnic Macedonian females. the period between January and April fected households are those with at the labour market, poverty, social wel- Lower educational attainment among 2009 were among Bosniacs, Roma and least one member employed in one of fare, the living standards of vulnerable women, particularly from the minority Albanians (Table 4). The educational the export-oriented industries, such as groups, housing, and other factors. ethnic communities, may be an addi- status of the registered unemployed the metal, mining, textile, and food in- tional factor in their lower employment shows that the rise in the number of dustries, and those households whose One of the major threats arising from and unemployment rates. unemployed from January to April income depends mostly on remittanc- the global economic crisis is the risk 2009 was highest among those with- es. Similarly, the crisis has exacerbated of a rise in the already high rate According to official statistics, unem- out education, those with 3 years of ployment rose by only 0.1 percent in secondary education, and also among Graph 2: Private transfers (in Millions of Euro) the first quarter of 2008 compared to those with university degrees. 350 the last quarter of 2007 (Table 3). Af- ter a more stable period in the 2nd and 3rd Despite the stabilisation of unemploy- 300 quarters of 2008, probably due to season- ment figures in 2009, the critical peri- 250 Table 3: Unemployment rates in selected quarters of 2007 and 2008 200 Unemployment rate Unemployment rate 150 Age 2007 / IV 2008 / I 2008 / III 2008 / IV 15-24 61.3 58.4 53.9 57.4 100 25-49 32.1 32.5 31.2 31 50 50-64 28.3 28.6 26.5 28 0 65+ 1.2 11.7 3.5 8.2 Q1.07 Q2.07 Q3.07 Q4.07 Q1.08 Q2.08 Q3.08 Q4.08 Total 34.7 34.8 33 33.5 18 Source: NBRM, 2009 Source: Employment Agency 2009 19
    • Table 4: Numbers of registered unemployed at the Employment Agency Table 5: Social financial assistance recipients during 2008 in January and April 2009, according to ethnic affiliation NUMBER OF RECIPIENTS OF SOCIAL FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE IN 2008 Growth / decline in January 2009 April 2009 absolute numbers Growth / decline in % Total 348,369 349,879 1,510 0.43 70.000 Macedonians 220,232 219,798 - 434 - 0.20 60.000 Albanians 84,787 86,356 1 569 1.85 Turks 13,665 13,758 93 0.68 50.000 Roma 17,929 18,208 279 1.56 Serbs 2,850 2,892 42 1.47 40.000 Vlachs 377 380 3 0.80 30.000 Bosniacs 352 384 32 9.09 Other 8,177 8,103 -74 - 0.90 20.000 Source: Employment Agency 2009 10.000 0 JANUARY FEBRUARY APRIL MARCH MAY JUNE JULY AUGUST SEPTEMBER OCTOBER NOVEMBER DECEMBER ods of late 2008 and early 2009 show Social Assistance that the economic crisis mostly affected the jobs of the following social groups: A similar trend was noticeable in the older workers; those affiliated with number of people receiving social as- ethnicities other than Macedonian; and sistance in the same period. While this Source: Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, 2009 those with lower levels of education. number fell from 62,019 in January to Children living in these types of house- 50,714 in October 2008, the figure The actual amount of money provided 29.70 EUR) shows that social financial holds are more likely to experience in- rose again in November and December in the form of social assistance is also assistance is almost three times low- creased tensions and problems in their to 52,507 and 53,105 respectively, a very important factor, both in terms er than the official poverty threshold. everyday lives due to reductions in representing 9.4 % of all households of the extent to which it enables recipi- Such low amounts of social financial their families’ financial capabilities and in the country. This rise is consistent ents to maintain an adequate standard assistance certainly do not serve to al- resources brought about by one or both with the increase in the number of reg- of living in difficult economic periods leviate poverty or help people out of of their parents losing employment. The istered unemployed for the same pe- and the extent to which it potentially poverty. Efforts thus need to be made economic crisis also increased youth riod (see Tables 4 & 5). In addition, it contributes towards the reduction of to increase the amount of social finan- unemployment, thus contributing to a can be estimated that the social pro- poverty. Judging by the amount of so- cial assistance so as to enable those greater exclusion of young people from tection scheme does not fully cover a cial financial assistance currently pro- living below the poverty line to attain the labour market. Young women were number of social categories, such as vided in the country , however, it is an adequate standard of living. This is particularly affected by these factors— the unemployed and the elderly. Com- difficult to claim that such assistance especially important in times of eco- especially young women from Albanian prevents poverty or helps substantially nomic crisis when vulnerable groups paring the numbers of registered un- and Roma ethnic backgrounds. improve the living standard of its bene- are even more exposed to the negative employed people (343,363 in Decem- ber 2008) with the numbers of social ficiaries. The monthly amount of social effects of increased prices for essential The rise in the number of people ap- financial assistance is low, amounting goods and services as well as reduced financial assistance recipients (53,105 plying for unemployment benefits at to 35.5 EUR for an individual in 2009, employment opportunities. in December 2008), it seems that al- the end of December 2008 and in early equivalent to 10% of the average net most 85 percent of those who are reg- 2009 further indicates that the impact salary paid in May 2009 (20,112 MKD; The increased rate of inflation was not istered unemployed are not covered by of the global economic crisis was at its equivalent to 329 EUR) and 22% of accompanied by a corresponding in- the social protection system. Even if most severe in these months. There the average pension in January 2009 crease in the amount of social financial the number of recipients were double were 300 more unemployment ben- (presuming that there are two unem- (9,865 MKD, equivalent to 161 EUR). assistance. From the beginning of 2008, eficiaries in December 2008 than in ployed persons per household receiv- This amount of social financial assist- year-to-date inflation grew steadily, November, making a total of 23,565. ing social financial assistance), the fig- ance is much lower than the poverty reaching 10.2 percent in March before Following a brief stabilisation of these ure still implies that around 70% of the threshold. In 2008, the poverty line fluctuating and finishing at 8.6 percent figures in January 2009, an additional registered unemployed do not receive (calculated as 70% of median equiva- in August. Higher prices for food and increase was noted during the months social financial assistance.4 In addition, lent household expenditure) was set at fuel were the greatest contributing fac- of February and March 2009, when the older individuals are not covered by the 65,398 MKD, equivalent to 1,066.79 tors to this rise in inflation. In this con- number of beneficiaries rose to 24,515 social protection system, as only 2.9% EUR per year. A comparison between text, it is important to note the effects and 25,380 respectively. The major- of the recorded beneficiaries are above the poverty line (5,449 MKD or 88.83 of inflation on living standards in 2008. ity of these were people who had lost 61 years of age. EUR) and the amount of social finan- Although nominal salaries increased for their jobs due to redundancy. cial assistance provided for individu- some sections of the population, real According to the Law on Social Protection, those eligible for social financial assistance include als per month in 2008 (1,825 MKD or salaries did not keep up with inflation; 20 21 4 persons who are fit to work but are not socially provided for.
    • thus higher inflation eroded real dispos- increase of 7.6% in 2008), followed  A potential increase in the small tect the contributions paid into private able household incomes, causing a de- by households in urban locations out- but significant group of children pension funds. The government should terioration in average living standards side of Skopje (an increase of 6.2% in who are under-nourished and/or also pay more attention to addressing and potentially pushing some families 2008). fail to thrive; the problems faced by the following into poverty. Under these circumstanc-  A potential increase in the number high-risk social categories: households es, the affordability of basic services, Other sources also indicate an increase of street children. with children, particularly those with particularly for poor families with chil- both in poverty among certain types of 5 or more members elderly workers; dren, is an issue of concern (UNICEF households and in the overall poverty There are some indications that these unemployed people who have no edu- 2009, New York) rate. For example, figures from the last negative effects of the crisis are already cation or only incomplete education; two UNDP People-Centred Analysis Re- underway. For example, there has been households amongst certain ethnic Poverty ports (2008 and 2009) imply a slight as increase in the number of public groups whose members are not in paid increase in the total poverty rate. The kitchen beneficiaries and an increase in employment and who are not part of The rate of poverty in the country first research undertaken in December the number of SOS phone calls report- the social protection system;; as well is exceptionally high. Calculated by 2007 showed an income-based pov- ing abuse and violence against children. as households living in urban centres relative method as 70% of median erty rate (as 60% of median equivalent According to Megjashi - The First Chil- outside of Skopje, and those in rural ar- equivalent household expenditure, this income) of 26%, with an increase of 2 dren’s Embassy, the year 2009 saw an eas. In times of economic crisis, these rate stood at 28.7% in 2008, which percent to 28% recorded six months increase of 9% over the previous year categories should be supported by in- is higher than poverty rates in Roma- later in July 2008. Moreover, the re- in the number of phone-calls reporting creases in the amount and duration of nia (18.6%), Turkey (17.8%), Croatia port in 2009 noted the exceptionally violence and abuse against children. direct social transfers, but also by the (17.4%) and Bulgaria (14.1%). high number of children under 15 who While the economic crisis may not be adoption of a greater number of active are at risk of poverty, noting a deterio- the primary cause, it is certainly an ex- measures to increase employment op- Despite the fact that official data for rating trend compared to the PCA re- acerbating factor which increases the portunities. 2008 shows a 0.6 percent decrease in port from 2008. probability of the occurrence of these the poverty rate compared to 2007, an negative social trends. analysis of poverty by type of house- Access to Basic Services holds reveals that there was actually All of the above suggests that there will be an increased demand for so- The Government’s an increase in poverty in 2008 among Taking into account the lack of avail- the category of ‘Other households with able and up-to-date national data on cial protection benefits and services response to the children’ (see Table 6). This ‘Other’ other social aspects that might be neg- in times of economic crisis. The social group is also the largest, representing atively affected by the economic crisis, protection system needs to respond to economic crisis 46.7% of the poor population. If one it can be speculated on the basis of an such increased demand in a timely and adds couples with children, who con- alternative analysis of the effects of the pro-active manner. The duration and Economic Anti-crisis Measures stituted 10.2% of the entire poor pop- crisis in the Western Balkans (Stubbs, amount of social protection benefits ulation in 2008, then the total number 2009), that the following additional should be temporarily increased in or- The initial impact of the global econom- of households with children living in social impacts may be expected in the der to mitigate the negative effects of ic crisis in November–December 2008 poverty is 56.9%, implying that the country: the crisis. The pension system should coincided with national pre-election majority of poor people in the country also be revised and the governmental campaigns for presidential and munici- are households with children.  A reduction in public expenditure pension supervision agency should pro- pal elections, with the consequence which may in turn lead to a re- Poverty amongst multi-member house- duction in expenditure on children holds also increased in 2008 com- (child benefits, kindergarten serv- Table 6: Relative poverty by type of household (70% of median pared to 2007. Thus, the poverty rate ices, etc.); equivalent expenditure) amongst households consisting of five persons in 2008 reached 33.2%, an in-  An increase in pressure on young 2007 2008 Headcount Poverty gap Composition of Headcount Poverty gap Proportion of crease of 2.6% over the previous year. people to drop out of secondary or index index poor index index poor population A slight increase of 0.1 percent was higher education in order to sup- Total 29.4 9.7 100.0 28.7 9.2 100.0 also noticed among households with 6 port their families; Elderly 26.7 7.9 4.6 22.8 7.3 4.9 persons and more. Couples with  Increased pressure on family rela- children 27.1 9.6 10.4 25.5 9.9 10.2 Furthermore, the poverty level in- tions due to poverty and unemploy- Other households with children (single creased amongst households in rural ment, linked to higher incidences parents, unmarried 33.4 11.1 48.5 33.7 10.6 46.7 areas and in urban locations outside of of depression, alcohol abuse, and couples) Skopje. A comparison with the data for violence—all of which may lead Households without children 26.3 8.4 36.4 25.8 8.0 38.3 2006 shows that the households most to higher levels of child abandon- affected were those in rural areas (an ment; 22 Source: State Statistical Office, 2009 23
    • that the Government spent significant to cover between 50,000 and 60,000 welfare, it must be emphasised that a period of broad consultation as to time and energy on the election agen- socially vulnerable households. Once these governmental activities under- which groups were to be covered and da. However, in this period, the Gov- implemented, this measure may prove taken in 2009 had been planned and to which domains it was to be applied, ernment adopted two anti-crisis pack- quite beneficial for many households announced long before the onset of the this project was finally initiated in Sep- ages: one focused on writing off the who lack sufficient resources to serv- global economic crisis. Hence they can- tember 2009 with the adoption of debts of insolvent companies, the oth- ice their household debts. Its main dis- not be accurately defined as measures the Government Programme for Con- er announcing plans to invest eight bil- advantage is that its realization was taken against the crisis, although their ditional Cash Transfers for Secondary lion EUR in public works. However, as planned for the following year and thus effect in certain cases may prove ben- Education. The beneficiaries of this these measures do not target the real the negative effects of the crisis were eficial in times of increased economic programme are to be high-school stu- ‘losers’ from the economic crisis, their felt for longer, especially as the heating constraints. dents living in families which receive impact on the most vulnerable social season begins in mid-October. Moreo- social financial assistance, as well as groups was negligible. ver, given that a significant proportion Other Relevant Ongoing Child-focused students in families where one of the of the vulnerable population use wood Initatives parents is briefly engaged in a socially A third ‘anti-crisis’ package was an- as their main heating resource rather beneficial public works project, and nounced after the elections in April than electricity, their needs should also In 2008, the Government adopted has therefore had their social finan- 2009. This package focused on more be taken into account as part of the a Law on Textbooks whereby text- cial assistance temporarily halted. The realistic measures, including: social anti-crisis measures. books were issued free of charge to main condition attached to this pro- 1) a new and re-balanced budget, re- all students in primary and secondary gramme is that high-school students duced by 9% and adjusted according A second anti-crisis measure with a di- schools. This measure was seen as should demonstrate regular school at- to the macro-economic projections of rect social impact was announced only providing support in the implementa- tendance, i.e. at least 85% of the to- 1% GDP growth and 1% inflation for a few days after the Energy Poverty tion of the government’s previous leg- tal number of classes (hours) accord- 2009; Action Plan. This measure is entitled islation on compulsory secondary edu- ing to the school programme. Fami- 2) the provision of credit support for ‘SOS Shops’ and envisages governmen- cation which came into effect in the lies will receive an amount of 12,000 firms and enterprises in the amount of tal subsidies for beneficiaries of per- school-year 2008/09. The textbook MKD (196 EUR) annually, to be paid 100 million EUR through the European manent financial assistance, enabling project will be implemented in three in four separate instalments. The to- Investment Bank; and them to purchase essential products phases and will cost the Government tal amount of money provided though 3) additional measures for support- with a 30% discount. Social assist- over 1 billion MKD (16 million EUR). the World Bank for this project is ap- ing firms and enterprises, including ance beneficiaries can buy discounted However, at the beginning of the proximately 19,300,000 EUR. It is es- measures for simplifying the export of products up to the amount of the social school-year 2009/1010 there were still timated that this programme will cover goods, cost reductions, etc. As with assistance they receive, but not more problems with the full implementation around 18,800 high-school students the previous package, this did not in- than 5000 MKD (81 EUR) per month. of this project due to a lack of con- from households receiving social finan- clude any direct social measures; nor These shops are planned only for Sko- tractual arrangements with the authors cial assistance. In addition, this project did the economic measures focus on pje initially, while additional shops may of the textbooks: problems which de- should also cover health protection— the most vulnerable groups in society. open in other cities in future according layed both the distribution of the text- i.e. regular pre-natal visits as well as to levels of interest in the scheme. The books as well as the commencement immunization—but this has yet to be Social Anti-crisis Measures measure is planned to cover approxi- of regular study activities. In addition, specified in detail. mately 15,000 households that are the Government has announced that all The first specific social anti-crisis beneficiaries of permanent financial as- damage done to textbooks will be paid As was the case with the programme measure directed towards vulnerable sistance, or approximately 55,000 to for by parents at the end of the school for free textbooks, the CCT project is groups was announced at the begin- 60,000 individuals in Skopje. Given year. This was described by some as complementary to the Law on obliga- ning of September 2009, when the that Skopje is the region least affect- effectively introducing ‘delayed’ pay- tory secondary education. This meas- Government decided to adopt an En- ed by the economic crisis, the ‘SOS ment for textbooks. Despite criticisms ure will support the financial costs of ergy Poverty Action Plan. This meas- Shops’ measure appears to be directed and initial problems with its implemen- households with children who do not ure sought to provide direct financial towards supporting those beneficiaries tation, however, this measure—while attend school regularly, as this irregu- support to the poor and most vulner- who are least vulnerable to the effects not adopted directly as a result of the lar attendance is attributed primarily to able sector who are unable to keep up of the crisis. This measure would thus crisis—may yet prove the most impor- economic factors. regular payments on their constantly be more appropriate if it were directed tant step to have been taken by the increasing electric bills every month. towards those cities and regions where government towards supporting house- Experiences from other countries sug- According to the Government, this so- the majority of jobs have been lost and hold budgets with a direct bearing on gest that there are certain risks associ- cial measure will amount to between towards those households with mem- the needs of children. ated with this programme which must 250 and 450 million MKD (between 4 bers employed in the worst affected be taken into consideration during its and 7 million EUR) annually. Its imple- sectors of the economy. An additional measure planned since implementation. Some of these risks in- mentation is planned for early 2010, 2007 and supported through the World clude obstacles associated with certain after previous identification of the ben- Before taking into consideration some Bank’s ‘Social Protection Implemen- traditions and customs within particu- eficiary categories and support levels. of the other anti-crisis measures that tation Loan’ is a project entitled Con- lar ethnic groups, e.g. early marriages 24 Initially, this programme is envisaged have been adopted in the field of social ditional Cash Transfers (CCT). After amongst Roma, the unavailability of 25
    • schools where teaching is given in the rise in demand for new housing. In ad- entire salary, but this rule is not fully aimed at agricultural workers. Howev- languages of all ethnic communities, dition, it is anticipated that this meas- respected in practice. Specifically, em- er, many of those living on small plots stigmatisation of CCT recipients, and ure will have a positive effect on low- ployers in the private sector frequently of land (subsistence agriculture) are not others. ering the prices of apartments by ap- exploit the legal stipulation of a mini- able to benefit from these measures proximately 10 to 13%. While positive mum and maximum basis for calculat- because they are usually not insured/ Social housing is an additional measure in terms of increasing the affordability ing social contributions, registering the registered, while priority is given to undertaken by government aimed at of housing for the general population, salaries of their employees at the mini- agricultural workers who are officially providing affordable housing for vulner- however, this measure is not expected mum base and thus paying lower social registered. As a consequence, children able categories. The provision of social to contribute towards satisfying the contributions while paying the other and young people living in such house- flats as a social policy measure is not a needs of the most vulnerable sectors part of the wage to employees ‘under holds are also negatively affected, as novelty in the country, although there of the population who lack adequate the table’. This practice jeopardises the this problem contributes to a reduction is no unified law regulating this area. standards of housing. current and future living standards of in young people’s employment oppor- Currently, the government is planning employees as their lower social con- tunities, as well as increased mistrust the adoption of a new Law on Housing One other measure implemented since tributions may later mean they stand in a public system that does not equally which will regulate non-profit housing January 1, 2009, is the reform popu- to receive only minimum amounts of benefit all agricultural households. more strictly and will also grant more larly referred to as the ‘gross wage social transfers in the event of their rights for municipalities in this field. In reform’, which was introduced as an becoming unemployed or after their re- Conclusion 2009, according to the ‘Programme for amendment to the previously enact- tirement. The consequent reduction in the Construction and Maintenance of ed Law on Contributions for Com- living standards amongst households In conclusion, it may be asserted that Apartments in Public Ownership’, the pulsory Social Insurance (Official Ga- also impacts upon children and young the government’s response to the glo- Government has announced two calls zette, 142/08). Among other changes, people by reducing these households’ bal economic crisis has not been suf- for applications to rent social flats (102 this reform changed the previous ‘net capacity to finance their children’s es- ficiently targeted at alleviating the flats in Skopje and 29 in Makedonska wage’ system by: sential needs, such as health, educa- effects of the downturn for the main Kamenica).5 According to the new law, tion, etc. ‘losers’ in this process. Government vulnerable categories of people residing 1) Integrating net salary within gross measures only rarely focused on the in social apartments will have a right to salary and calculating social contri- The overall decrease in the amounts individuals and regions most directly government subsidies to help them pay butions on the basis of the gross paid as social contributions for pen- affected by the crisis. Of all the anti- their rent. The call in Skopje resulted in salary; sions, health and unemployment insur- crisis measures, only two had a direct more than 700 applications, of which ance generated additional problems. social impact: the Energy Poverty Ac- a majority were from individuals who 2) Introducing a gradual reduction of Although this measure was meant as tion Plan and the introduction of SOS were children growing up without par- the social contribution base for an incentive to generate new employ- shops. These measures also lacked ap- ents and parental care. This category pension, health and unemployment ment, it has not produced the expect- propriate and additional targeting nec- was also the prime target of the gov- insurance by 10 percentage points ed results. On the contrary, bearing in essary to make them more effective. ernment’s call, meaning that the major- from the current 32% to 22% be- mind the financial crisis and its impact Furthermore, of all the measures an- ity of the flats will be given to adults tween the period 01.01.2009 and on a growing number of unemployed nounced in 2009, none were directly who grew up parentless. Although this 01.01.2011. people, as well as the previously re- focused towards children. This high- measure was not taken directly in re- formed PAYG6 system and the privati- lights the absence of a child-friendly This measure resulted in an ‘artificial’ sponse to the economic crisis, it is a sation of primary healthcare, the main approach which could be adopted in increase in the average gross salary: a very important measure as it directly impact of this reform will be to lower times of economic constraints. The 17.7% jump in the first half of 2009 contributes towards improving one of the contributions paid into social insur- only measures that may have had a compared to the same period from the the biggest problems in the national ance funds, thus decreasing the total direct positive effect on children and previous year. social protection system, i.e. the lack financial assets available for important young people during 2009 were those of sufficient support for young people public services and benefits such as related to the provision of free text- Although this reform was welcomed by without parents and parental care who health, unemployment insurance and books and preferential access to social employers and employer associations are leaving institutional care. pensions. Children and young people housing for individuals who grew up as it reduces social contribution costs are also affected by the lowering of so- without parental care. To alleviate the and thus total labour costs, it neverthe- Also in the area of housing, the Gov- cial contributions as many of them de- problems faced by children and young less carries certain risks. These risks ernment recently announced a reduc- pend upon the social benefits received people during periods of economic cri- are associated with the way in which tion in the VAT rate from 18% to 5% by their parents or grandparents. sis, governments need to undertake the reform is implemented and with the on the purchase of new apartments, a more public measures focussed on overall context of informal economy in measure that should bring about several Finally, agricultural workers are a target helping vulnerable households to meet the country. The first problem arises positive effects in the housing sector. group that has been continually sup- their overall costs of living, specifically from the calculation of social contribu- Firstly, it should stimulate construction ported by governmental subsidies since in the fields of housing, education and tions: this calculation is supposed to be companies to increase their volume of 2008. In 2009, 70 million EUR were al- health. made on the basis of the employee’s building in response to the expected located for different kinds of subsidies 26 5 The size of the apartments is 35–45 square metres and their rent will be 20 MKD (0.32 EUR) per 6 The Pay-as-You-Go (PAYG) is a system whereby contributions from currently employed workers are 27 square metre. used to pay the pensions of the retired employees.
    • PART TWO: THE WELL-BEING OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE DURING ECONOMIC CRISIS - RESEARCH RESULTS Objectives This study has the following general the reduced economic capacities of and specific objectives: households. General Objectives  To assess any increased irregulari- ties in school attendance or deterio-  identify the threats arising from To ration of school performance among the current economic crisis to the children and young people over the well-being of children and young 12-month period. To assess the people throughout the country. causes of such irregular attendance or diminished performance.  To assess the socio-economic cir- cumstances of the most vulnerable  To assess the health status, attend- groups of children and families dur- ance at regular health check-ups, ing periods of economic crisis. and nutritional habits of children over the past 12 months. To ex- Specific Objectives plore the reasons for any decrease identified in the quality of children’s  assess the potential reductions To health in this period. in families’ living standards and lev- els of consumption which impact  To assess the amount of free qual- upon the well-being of children and ity time spent by parents with their young people. To provide an anal- children over the past 12 months. ysis of the threats and risks posed To explore the reasons for any re- 30 to children and young people by duction in such quality time. 29
    •  To assess any increased engage- on the needs of children in areas those aged 25 since many people of impact of the crisis on households in ment of children and young people such as education, health, and nu- this age are still involved in the educa- less populous and affluent regions that in labour as a result of the economic trition. tional process and continue to live with may be presumed to have suffered crisis. their parents. more from the economic downturn.  The possibility offered by primary  assess the housing conditions of To research to analyse the economic The sample type was stratified in ap- Finally, the sample included an equal children and young people and to effects on the most vulnerable chil- proximately equal parts according to distribution of households living in ur- provide an insight into any reduc- dren according to ethnicity, region, ethnicity, region and place of residence. ban and rural areas. This allowed the tion in their housing standards and location, household type, etc. This manner of stratification was ap- study to focus on a sufficient number needs over the past 12 months. plied for two reasons: firstly, because of respondents from rural households,  The possibility offered by primary it allowed for comparative analysis as such households are considered research to analyse the groups and across these variables; secondly, be- more vulnerable to the effects of the Methodology families most affected by the crisis, cause it enabled the study to highlight crisis than urban households. i.e. families with members who lost the needs of the population most af- The analysis in this study is based jobs in the past 12 months; families fected by the adverse impacts of the The structure and size of the stratified on a combined qualitative and quan- relying exclusively on remittances; financial crisis, as well as those groups sample were as follows: titative approach. The quantitative families living from agriculture; de- generally considered most vulnerable. research method involved a primary pendent on child benefit; and multi-  According to ethnicity: 261 Mace- field survey based on a nationally member families. The ethnic groups included in the sam- donians; 261 Albanians; 264 Turks; representative stratified sample of ple were Macedonians, Albanians, and 256 Roma. family households. The survey was  The possibility offered by primary Turks and Roma.1 According to official conducted through a questionnaire research to analyse the strength of statistics, these are the ethnic groups  According to geographical location: as an instrument for obtaining rel- the social protection system to pro- within which there is the greatest 8 statistical regions, i.e. (1) Polog; evant data. vide support to vulnerable groups number of registered unemployed,2 the (2) Skopje; (3) the North-East re- in periods of crisis through social greatest number of social assistance gion; (4)The South-West region; (5) Notwithstanding the availability of a assistance, education, healthcare, recipients,3 and amongst whom social Vardar; (6) the East region; (7) Pel- significant amount of relevant offi- etc. exclusion of youth is most evident.4 An agonija; and (8) the South-East re- cial statistics and additional research equal number of respondents was se- gion. The sample included approxi- related to child well-being and child  The opportunity afforded on the ba- lected from each ethnic group in order mately 130 respondents per region. poverty in the country, a need was sis of primary research to provide to allow for more in-depth analysis of identified for acquiring fresh data relevant policy proposals for im- the most vulnerable ethnic groups—i.e.  According to location of residence: that would specifically provide infor- proving the conditions of vulnerable primarily the Roma, but also Albanians mation on the most recent impact children, and to recommend policy and Turks. - Urban locations: Veles, Stip, Ko- of the global economic crisis. The measures aimed at vulnerable chil- cani, Kicevo, Radovis, Strumica, rationale for undertaking primary dren and families during economic The stratification of the sample accord- Bitola, Gostivar, Kumanovo, and research included the following key crisis. ing to regions, i.e. the inclusion of an Skopje (Suto Orizari). The sample considerations: equal number of families with children included 521 respondents from ur- and young people per region, was ap- ban locations, with approximately  The scarcity of relevant national Sampling plied due to the fact that the largest 130 respondents per ethnic group. data (both official statistical as well statistical region, Skopski, is also the as research data) on socio-economic The sample used for the purposes of wealthiest region and is considered to - Rural locations: Caska, Krivolak, developments in 2009, i.e. the peri- primary field research comprised a have been least affected by the eco- Karbinci, Zajas, Dolno i Gorno Ko- od in which the economic crisis was nationally representative sample of nomic crisis. The number of house- sovrasti, Osoj, Rastani, Bosilovo, manifested most strongly. family households (excluding married holds per region in the sample is thus Dolneni (Crniliste, Debreste, Ropo- couples without children). The sample approximately equal in order to allow tovo), Tearce, Gorna Banjica, Pcin-  The absence of any statistical evi- included 1,042 households with chil- for a more accurate assessment of the ja, Romanovce, Bedinje, Lipkovo, dence or empirical research regard- dren and young people. The units of ing the specific impact of the eco- analysis were households with children 1 Other ethnic groups present in the country but not analyzed in this study include: Serbs, Vlachs, Bosniaks and others (Source: National Census Data 2002, State Statistical Office) nomic crisis on children and fami- and young people. Within this study, 2 Unemployment according to ethnicity in April 2009 was as follows: ethnic Macedonians, 62.8%; lies. ’children’ are defined as persons aged ethnic Albanians, 24.7%; Roma, 5.12%; and ethnic Turks, 3.93%. Source: National Employment between 0 to 18, while ‘young peo- Agency 2007 3 Social assistance recipients according to ethnicity in 2007: ethnic Albanians, 37%; ethnic Mac-  The possibility offered by primary ple’ are defined as being from 19 to edonians, 33.5%; Roma, 14.1%; and ethnic Turks, 6.4% Source: Verme, P. “Review of the Social research to assess the extent of the 25 years of age. Although official sta- Protection System in the Republic of Macedonia”, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, 2008 (un- socio-economic effects of the crisis tistics define young people as persons published) 4 Novkovska, B., ‘The socio-economic status of the family as a factor in social exclusion from educa- in relation to household expenditure up to the age of 24, this study included 30 tion and employment amongst persons aged 15 to 19.’ Unpublished MA thesis (in Macedonian), Fac- ulty of Philosophy, Ss. Cyril & Methodius University, Skopje (2006). 31
    • Studenicani, Zelenikovo, Saraj, to the economic crisis. The responses Table 7: Sample structure according to family type, gender, ethnicity and location Novo Selo and Jurumleri. The sam- gathered in these focus group discus- ple included 521 respondents from sions complement the primary research Family rural locations, with approximately survey and serve to provide greater type Gender Ethnicity and Rural-Urban split Total 130 per ethnic group) clarification of the findings. Five focus Macedonians Albanians Roma Turks groups discussions were conducted, Rural Urban Rural Urban Rural Urban Rural Urban From tables 7–9 below it can be seen each involving 7–10 participants from that, in addition to groups stratified the following categories: Single Men 2 3 0 1 1 2 0 7 16 according to ethnicity, region and lo- parents Women 1 6 2 5 9 11 4 3 41 cation, the sample included mainly  Newly unemployed workers from Total 3 9 2 6 10 13 4 10 57 married couples with children, mainly the textile and metal industries Married Men 52 53 48 34 48 53 69 72 429 unemployed people and predominantly from the eastern part of the coun- couples those with primary and secondary edu- try. with Women 73 68 78 89 57 47 56 45 513 children cation.  Families living from remittances in the western part of the country. Total 125 121 126 123 105 100 125 117 942 It is important to emphasise that pref-  Agricultural families in the south- Unwed Men 1 0 0 4 6 1 2 14 couples 0 erence was given whenever possible ern part of the country. with to conducting the survey with moth-  Multi-member families of 5 or more Women 0 1 2 1 12 5 1 3 25 children ers rather than fathers of families. This members from the north-eastern Total 0 2 2 1 16 11 2 5 39 preference was applied because it was part of the country. Men 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 deemed that mothers would prove the  Families receiving child allowance most relevant source of information in the northern part of the coun- Other Women 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 3 regarding the well-being of their chil- try. Total 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 4 dren. The focus groups were not as strictly 128 133 130 131 131 125 132 132 1,042 Total selected along the lines of the statisti- Overall, 582 female respondents cal regions as the population selected (55.9% of the sample) and 460 male for the survey. However, adequate respondents (44.1% of the sample) geographic coverage was ensured in were interviewed. order to assess the effects of the crisis throughout all geographical regions. In Table 8: Sample structure according to ethnicity, gender and employment status addition, the participants in the focus Qualitative method groups were selected according to the Employment status of parents Total problems most evident during the cri- Employed in The qualitative methods applied in this Employed in the Self- sis, such as rising unemployment, re- Ethnicity Gender private sector the public employed Unemployed Pensioner Other study consisted of literature review sector ductions in remittances, and reduced and discussions with focus groups. demand for agricultural products. Par- Macedonian Men 47 11 9 34 8 1 110 The discourse analysis was conducted ticipants from households with multiple Women 40 10 8 88 3 1 150 mainly through a review of policy and members and from households receiv- Total 87 21 17 122 11 2 260 research literature, as well as a review ing child benefits were selected in view Albanian Men 16 18 18 24 4 3 83 of the statistical data available on the of their long-term vulnerability. Women 12 12 8 142 3 1 178 socio-economic effects of the crisis on children and young people. The sources Total 28 30 26 166 7 4 261 Special guidelines consisting of 10 to for the data considered in the discourse 15 questions were elaborated in order Turkish Men 47 15 24 60 1 4 151 analysis were primarily government in- to guide the focus group discussions Women 17 1 8 86 0 1 113 stitutions: the State Statistical Office, and enable the gathering of short, clear Total 64 16 32 146 1 5 264 the National Bank of the Republic of and unambiguous responses and expla- Roma Men 29 4 7 71 2 1 114 Macedonia, the Ministry of Labour nations. Women 2 1 5 132 0 1 141 and Social Policy and the Employment Total 31 5 12 203 2 2 255 Agency. The timeframe of the analysis The focus group discussions were re- was mid-2008 to mid-2009. Total 210 105 87 637 21 13 1,040 corded and the audiotapes and tran- scripts were subsequently analysed to % 20,2 6,9 8,4 61,3 2,0 1,3 100% The focus group discussions provided identify the most characteristic posi- further information about the effects of tions and opinions of the households the crisis on those groups of the popu- affected by the economic crisis as well lation perceived to be most vulnerable the impact of this crisis upon children 32 33
    • Table 9: Sample structure according to ethnicity, gender and education Table 10: Composition of focus group participants Education of parents Total Recently Receiving Agricultural Multi-member Child-benefit unemployed remittances Households households beneficiaries Incomplete Incomplete Man Women Man Women Man Women Man Women Man Women No Primary Secondary Higher Tertiary Ethnicity Gender primary secondary education education education education education Macedonian 6 4 / / 7 2 / 1 2 1 education education Albanian / / 3 3 / / / / 3 / Macedonian Men 0 2 14 1 75 9 9 110 Turks / / 2 / / / / / / / Women 1 2 31 0 92 9 15 150 Roma / / / / / / 4 2 2 1 Total 1 4 45 1 167 18 24 260 Other / / / / / / / / / 1(Serb) Albanian Men 1 3 28 2 35 5 9 83 Total 6 4 5 3 7 2 4 3 7 3 Women 9 26 89 1 36 4 13 178 Total 10 29 117 3 71 9 22 261 Turkish Men 13 16 52 0 51 6 13 151 however, reported a reduction in in- reported primarily by families in which Women 23 34 43 0 11 0 2 113 come, while 2.6% reported having ex- the father had a monthly income of up Total 36 50 95 0 62 6 15 264 perienced irregular payments of their to 5,500 MKD (89 EUR) and the moth- Roma Men 16 24 54 1 19 0 0 114 income. Of those whose incomes de- er had no income. Women 49 45 39 0 7 1 0 141 clined, the majority were Roma (28.1%), Total 65 69 93 1 26 1 0 255 followed by ethnic Turks (26.1%), eth- The above results suggest that the Total 112 152 350 5 326 34 61 1,040 nic Albanians (23.8%) and Macedoni- economic crisis contributed towards % 10.8 14.6 33.7 0.5 31.3 3.3 5.9 100% ans (22.1%). The regions most affect- reduced incomes amongst families ed by the decline were the South-East generally considered more at risk, such and Polog regions. According to family as multi-member households, single- type, income decline was most evident parent families, vulnerable ethnicities and young people. The information Standards of living among single-parent families (mother) (i.e. Roma), households living on low gained from these focus group discus- and unwed couples with children. A incomes or no incomes, and amongst sions does not replace the quantitative Standards of living tend to decline dur- significant reduction in income was the self-employed and unemployed. survey; rather, this information offers ing periods of economic crisis as a re- also reported among households with In addition, the research results con- in-depth, complementary data from the sult of various cuts in public spending, five or more members and families firm the official figures with regard to selected groups of respondents. reduced employment opportunities, re- with four children or more. According the regions most affected by the eco- duced incomes, irregular payments of to employment status, a reduction of nomic crisis. Thus the South-East re- The following sections of the study wages, increased prices for essential income was reported predominantly by gion, where the textile and metal in- present an analysis of the data gathered goods, and other factors. All these fac- self-employed and unemployed people. dustries are most present, was found through the quantitative and qualitative tors place pressure on households to Finally, according to monthly income to have suffered the worst affects of methods described above. Where pos- reorganise their spending habits. Plans per household, a decline in income was the downturn. Other regions, such as sible and appropriate, data obtained to continue education may be post- poned and regular health checkups Graph 3: Children, young people and family types most affected by from our research will be compared to may cease, for example, in addition reduced parental income official statistics and other relevant na- 50% to the adoption of other cost-saving tional sources to assess whether they 40% measures. This section will analyse provide any new information regarding the extent to which economic devel- 30% threats to the well-being of children opments over the twelve-month period 20% and young people. under consideration impacted the living 10% standards of different types of house- 0% Finally, the results from this study will holds in the country, thus enabling an 5 family members 3-5 family members 1-3 family members single-parent families (mother) married couple with children two children three children four and more children one child children aged 7 – 14 children aged 15 – 18 single-parent families (father) Young people aged 19 – 25 unwed couples with children children aged 0 – 6 also serve as the basis for developing a assessment of the risks and threats to set of policy recommendations for im- the well-being of children and young proving the well-being of children and people. young people in times of economic cri- sis. Of the 1,042 respondents from house- holds with children, 50.4% reported no change in their income levels over the previous twelve months. A significant 34 number of the interviewees (38.3%), 35
    • Table 11: Households with children and young people below the poverty line Graph 4: Family types where job losses occurred during the period according to monthly household income under consideration Single parent (father) Households with Households with children and young Households % of households living Single parent (mother) incomes Total people according to their children’s age with no income below the poverty line up to 5,500 MKD Married couple with children 0–6 60 64 124 11.9% Married couple without children 7–14 38 54 92 8.8% 15–18 15 15 30 2.8% 1-3 family 3-5 family 19–25 44 15 59 5.6% 5 and above combination of all ages 70 128 198 19% TOTAL 227 276 503 48.1.% One child Two children Polog, suffered from higher-than-aver- Job losses during the period of the eco- Three children age numbers of individuals losing their nomic crisis were reported by 17.5% Four and more jobs (at home or abroad) and/or experi- of the households interviewed. Recent encing a loss or reduction in their regu- research undertaken with similar rep- lar incomes or remittances. resentative sample (FES, 2009) pro- Young people aged 19-25 duced a similar finding regarding the Children aged 0-6 Analysis of household incomes can number of jobs lost during the crisis, Children aged 7-14 also serve as an indicator of the num- at 19%. One can thus conclude that Children aged 15-19 bers of children living in poverty. Al- the economic crisis has contributed to Combination off all ages though poverty is officially calculated an increase in the already high level of according to household expenditure, unemployment and to a lowering of 0,00% 5,00% 10,00% 15,00% 20,00% 25,00% 30,00% 35,00% the analysis presented here is based living standards. Our research shows upon household incomes (Table11). that the majority of job losses (58.2%) Among other family types, notable dif- reduced living standards of their par- (This method of calculating poverty on were among households living in ur- ferences are apparent. For example, ents and/or other family members. The the basis of household incomes is an ban areas, predominantly in the East- while reduced income was mainly evi- first category includes children whose important step in the process of har- ern region (20.9%), Skopski region dent among households with four or parents suffered the loss of a job, that monizing national statistics with EU (17%); and Polog region (14.3%). By more children, job losses were main- is, those living in single parent fami- standards.) ethnicity, the majority of job losses ly evident among families with one lies; young people between 19 and were registered among Macedonians to three family members and families 25; and children between the ages of In 2008, the poverty threshold (cal- (35.7%), followed by Turks (23.1%), with only one child. This suggests that 0 and 6.The second category includes culated as 70% of median equivalent Roma (22.5%) and Albanians (18.7%). younger couples and older parents – children whose parents experienced household expenditure) was set at In terms of types of family, the major- i.e. the category registering the high- reduced incomes, or children living in 65,398 MKD, or 1,066.79 EUR (the ity of households that experienced job est proportion of job losses – tend to multi-member households (with 4 or annual expenditure per adult equiva- losses were single-parent families, fam- have more insecure types of employ- more siblings). lent). This means that the poverty ilies with one to three family members, ment (e.g. part-time employment or line in 2008, calculated as monthly families with only one child, families employment with fixed-term contracts) Analysis of the discussions held with expenditure per adult equivalent, was with young people between the ages of and/or jobs associated with the indus- focus groups, which included five dif- 5,449 MKD, or 89 EUR. The number of 19 and 25, and families with children tries most directly affected by the cri- ferent types of households, indicates households with no incomes or with in- aged between 0 and 6 (Graph 4). This sis. It may further be concluded that that those most affected by the eco- comes up to 5,500 MKD indicates that is also confirmed by analysis of the age households with more family members nomic crisis were families with mem- 48.1% live below the poverty line. Ex- of parents, according to which the ma- and more children tend to be employed bers working in agriculture and families cluding households with children in the jority of job losses were recorded in the either in types of jobs which, while of five or more members. These house- age-range ‘combination of all ages’, the age group 50–65, followed by younger more secure, are also more suscepti- holds were particularly badly affected children living in poor households were couples aged 18–29. ble to changes in market demand (e.g. not only because of reductions in their predominantly aged between 0 and 6. self-employed) and/or rely on financial income and, in some cases, job losses Of all the households interviewed, it is The results of the study show it was resources which were reduced dur- over the twelve-month period, but also alarming to note that 21.7% live with single-parent families who were hit ing the crisis (e.g. remittances). From because their standard of living was al- no income or in conditions of extreme hardest by the economic crisis in terms this it may be conjectured that two ready low prior to the crisis, i.e. they poverty. Again, the age-group most af- of reduced income and job losses. categories of children were affected had no savings, lacked adequate hous- 36 fected is that from 0–6 years of age. more than any other category by the ing conditions, etc. 37
    • Graph 5: Households suffering financial exclusion Graph 6: Coping strategies among households with children during (possessing no bank account), according to ethnicity and location economic crisis 33.7 30% 28.2% 35.0 30.9 27.9 25% 21% 30.0 25.2 26.5 20% 25.0 21.0 15% 11.9% 20.2 8.8% 20.0 10% 6.6% 6% 14.6 URBAN 4.9% 4.3% 4.2% 5% 2.4% 1.6% 15.0 RURAL 0% 10.0 5.0 0 Macedonian Albanian Turkish Roma is indicated by the fact that 90.1% of est rates, decreased time-intervals for As well as placing jobs at risk and low- given that employment opportunities respondents to the survey reported not paying, etc. On the other hand, those ering incomes, the economic crisis also for unskilled labour with lower levels of having any savings. Moreover, the ma- who do not have any loans or mort- impacts upon household expenses. education are scarce in times of crisis, jority of households participating in the gages typically belong to the category The quantitative research results show thus increasing the pressure on these study’s focus group discussions (with of more vulnerable households as they that higher prices for food, energy and types of family. This may explain why the exception of those receiving remit- constitute a higher-risk category in the other essential products over the 12- Roma and Turkish households, as well tances) also declared that they did not view of banks. This latter category pri- month period increased the expenses as single-parent families, experience in- have any savings. This problem con- marily includes households of Albanian of 89.3% of all households, with no creased problems in paying their utility strains parental choices in terms of and Roma ethnic origin from rural areas significant variations according to loca- bills during times of economic crisis. their coping strategies during econom- in the North-East region with parents tion, region, ethnicity or family types. ic crisis and limits the means available aged between 50 and 65 and with five Of the households surveyed in this Regarding the ability of households to to them to provide for their children’s or more members and three children. study, 79.7% responded that they service bank loans and/or mortgages needs. had experienced greater difficulty pay- in this twelve-month period, 48.7% of Finally, the living standards of house- ing their monthly bills for electricity, respondents reported that they did not Of the respondents interviewed for this holds were also measured accord- water and food compared to the pre- have any loans or mortgages. This indi- study, 20.3% reported having experi- ing to their coping strategies during vious year. In terms of ethnicity, this cator, taken together with the fact that enced greater problems servicing their times of economic crisis. As can be problem was reported by a slightly 65.7%of the respondents reported not loans and mortgages in the twelve- seen from Graph 6, only 4.3% of all higher proportion of households from possessing a bank account, highlights month period under consideration. The households interviewed said they had the Roma and Turkish population than the condition of financial exclusion majority of those reporting such prob- not experienced any need to seek ad- other ethnicities, with 27.1% of Roma that plagues the majority of the popu- lems were households of Macedonian ditional income to support their stand- households and 26.6% of Turkish lation (Graph 5). Various causes have ethnic origin living in urban areas in ard of living as a result of decreased households reporting difficulties paying been advanced to explain this state of the Eastern region. Most were from household income due to job losses such bills. In terms of family types, this financial exclusion, such as a lack of households with three to five family or other effects of the economic cri- problem was observed to be greatest required documentation, a lack of edu- members and with young people aged sis. Of the households that specified among single-parent families (where cation or knowledge, the rigidity and between 19 and 25. Most had higher their coping strategies, most reported the mother is head of the household) conservatism of the country’s bank- (two years or more) university educa- having engaged in agriculture or trade and families with three children. ing system, and the low level of trust tion and worked in the public sector as a means of maintaining their living placed in the financial sector (Bornaro- with a monthly income of 18,000 MKD standards, while some reported using In terms of employment and educa- va, Gerovska-Mitev, 2009). Irrespec- (300 EUR) or above. These types of the pensions of their parents to cope tional status, the groups with the high- tive of the causes, this problem is of households generally do not belong to with their financial difficulties. Others est proportion of households report- great concern since the lack of a bank the more socially vulnerable population said that they usually engaged in con- ing problems paying bills were those account severely limits the possibilities of the country. During the economic struction work, housekeeping or other with members either self-employed or available to households to accumulate crisis, however, their existing incomes manual work during periods when they unemployed and those with members savings, undertake bank transactions proved insufficient to withstand the ef- had no formal source of income or re- possessing only incomplete secondary or access credit and insurance. The fects of increased rigidity on the part of ceived reduced incomes. 38 education. This finding is not surprising scale and seriousness of this problem the banking system, e.g. higher inter- 39
    • As shown in Graph 6, most house- These economic constraints undoubt- Graph 7: Children and young people excluded from education, holds responded ‘Other’ to the ques- edly affect the lives of children and according to age groups tion regarding their coping strategies. young people throughout the country. Analysis of the responses in this cat- One of the most common risks is a re- 5 4.72 egory indicate that the coping strate- duction in the regularity of children and 4.5 gies adopted by the majority of these young people’s access to goods such households included the following: tak- as books, clothes, and computers. 4 ing out loans or arranging credits; work- Among poorer households, economic 3.5 ing in the private sector (in unspecified constraints may even cause changes in jobs); producing craft work; and per- the quantity and quality of food avail- 3 forming various other types of work. able to children. Access to the basic 2.5 2.11 The remaining respondents coped by services that children need for their 1.9 2 engaging in the informal economy or development may also be hindered, in- by subsistence farming. cluding reduced access to schooling, 1.5 1.16 childcare and healthcare, as well as 1 Analysis of the discussions held with a decrease in housing standards (e.g. focus groups indicates that the cop- lack of heating). In some cases, eco- 0.5 ing strategies commonly adopted by all nomic constraints may force children 0 types of households include the follow- to join the labour force or to undertake 0-6 7-14 15-18 19-25 ing: borrowing from relatives; delaying more household tasks. Severe eco- repayment of debts and loans; making nomic hardship can result in depres- gain the economic habit of saving.’ levels in the country suggest cause use of social assistance; taking up part- sion and violence which can damage “My household has obtained a loan, for concern. According to UNICEF’s time work; and, in rare cases, making the emotional well-being and long-term but the conditions are very strict. You 2007 Child Poverty Study, only 10.7% use of bank credits and loans. development of children and young have to provide impossible guaran- of children aged 3 to 5 were attending people. Finally, the risk of trafficking tees, such as two people who work some form of organised pre-school ac- Conclusions and street-begging may also increase, in public administration who will sup- tivity in 2005. The latest data from the especially among the lower income port your credit application or provide a State Statistical Office show a 5.6% Overall, the results of this research into quintiles and in particular among some mortgage, all of which is very difficult. increase in the number of children at- living standards during economic crisis ethnic groups (Roma). The effect of The most frightening are the interest tending pre-school education compared indicate that households are exposed these risks on the well-being of chil- rates.” to 2007: the total number of children in to important threats and risks which dren and young people in the country public institutions for childcare and edu- may have a direct impact on the well- during the last twelve months will be “We used to have more, but now we cation – e.g. kindergartens–is 21,711. being of children and young people. assessed in the following sections. are unemployed and our incomes are Enrolment rates in primary education, The main threats apparent over the lower. I’m a laid-off worker and I don’t however, show a downward trend. Ac- twelve months under consideration in- receive anything from the Employment cording to the State Statistical Office, cluded the following: reduced incomes “My husband has gone abroad to earn Agency.” the number of pupils attending regu- (38.3% of households); irregular in- money and now the situation is better. lar primary schools at the end of the comes (2.6%); loss of jobs (17.5%); We have made that sacrifice for the school year 2007/2008 was 220,833, increased family expenses (89.3%); sake of our children.” Statements from focus group discussions a decrease of 3.2% from the previous and problems paying monthly bills for with recently unemployed parents school year. In secondary schools, al- electricity, water, and food (79.7%). “All workers are subject to dismissal, and families receiving remittances: though the enrolment rate is generally In addition, 65.7% of households with but the first to be dismissed are those rising, official figures show that the children were unable to mitigate these that aren’t ‘suitable’, the ones that are number of students in upper secondary problems to any significant extent be- more ‘rebellious’. You are constantly in schools at the end of the school year cause of their financial exclusion, i.e. a fear of being dismissed.” EDUCATION 2007/2008 was 92,753, a decrease of their lack of a bank account, while 1.1% from the previous school year. 90.1% lacked any financial savings “We’ve worked extra hours without Access to education is a vital factor in The exact reasons for these negative to fall back upon in this period. The being paid. If I report the case to the the cognitive and social development trends remain unexplored and it is be- majority of these households are thus labour inspectorate, I’m afraid the in- of children, enhancing their prospects yond the scope of this study to iden- forced to employ additional copying spectors will report it to my employer. in terms of their future employment tify them all. It is, however, important strategies, mainly involving some type They’re all connected. The problem is status and economic position in soci- to note that these negative trends are of informal economic activity, or have in the system.” ety. most evident among children from cer- to cope by dramatically reducing ex- tain vulnerable groups, such as Roma penses even on some essential goods. “In some ways, the economic crisis Official figures and identified trends re- children, children from socially de- can have a positive effect as children 40 lating to educational attainment at all prived families, children living in rural 41
    • Graph 8: Children and young people not regularly attending education predominantly from the Eastern region. Given that only 0.6% of households re- 73.20% are of Roma and Turkish eth- ported that their children’s irregular at- 4.9% nic origin. In terms of family type, the tendance or non-attendance at school majority of these children are from the began within the 12 months under Roma households of unwed couples or from consideration in this study, it is clear households with five or more mem- that the causes behind these children’s 22% bers, or families with three children. exclusion from education cannot be Turks The majority of these children belong directly linked to the recent economic 41.5% to households in which the parents crisis. The socio-economic and edu- Macedonian have no education or incomplete pri- cational profile of the households to 31.7% mary education and work either in the which these children and young peo- private sector or are unemployed. ple belong thus appears to be the main Albanian reason for their low educational attain- Of those children who do not attend ment. areas, and children with disabilities. this problem is most evident among school at all and are thus completely This section aims to determine wheth- young people aged 19–25, followed excluded from the education system, The study further analysed the reasons er the economic crisis has led to adete- by children aged 15–18. the majority live in the Vardar region for irregular school attendance or lack rioration in educational attainment and and are of Roma ethnic origin. Most of attendance among these particular performance. It further seeks to assess These findings on educational exclusion either live in single-parent families in categories. Lack of sufficient financial the impact the crisis has had on the among certain age groups are in line which the mother is the head of the resources stands out as the main rea- schooling costs of particular groups of with official statistics on school drop- household, or in households with 5 and son given for irregular attendance or households and on the future educa- out rates. Our study indicates that edu- more members. The majority are from non-attendance at school. This problem tional prospects of children from these cational exclusion among children aged households with fathers who have in- was particularly evident in the Vardar households. 15–18 affected 2.11% in 2009, while complete secondary education and region and was especially pronounced educational exclusion among children mothers with incomplete primary edu- among rural households, predominantly Of the 1,042 respondents in our sur- aged 7–14 affected1.9%. According cation. The typical educational status among Roma but also among Turkish vey, 76.3% have children within the to the National Strategy for Employ- of the parents of these children indi- households. The majority of children school-age bracket. From this group of ment (2005), the yearly drop-out rate cates that the problem of school ex- partially or completely excluded from 794 householders, 68.5% have chil- from primary schools is 1.42%, while clusion or early exit from the school education live in single-parent fami- dren who regularly attend formal edu- the yearly drop-out rate from second- system is repeated across generations: lies with an average of three children. cation, while 4.2% do attend irregu- ary schools is 2.4%. children from these families usually do Analysis of the types of households to larly and another 4.5% do not attend not attain higher educational levels than which the majority of these children school at all. Analysis according to the The majority of children and young their parents. The reasons for this may belong indicates that lack of financial age of children and young people ex- people who do not attend school regu- be found not only in the educational resources, together with other ele- cluded from education indicates that larly are from households in rural areas, backgrounds of such households, but ments such as location, ethnicity, and also in the lack of better-targeted edu- the number of children in the family, all Graph 9: Children and young people completely excluded from formal cational policies aimed at supporting contribute towards increasing the risk education according to region these families, as well as in the lack of of excluding children from education. 25% investment in education in the regions/ 25% places where these children live. These Among the 7.7% of households whose 22.5% survey results correspond with previ- children either did not attend education ously generated knowledge and official regularly or did not attend school at all, 20% data. 5.2% reported that this problem had 17.5% 15% Graph 10: Reasons for poor school attendance or non-attendance 10% 10% 10% Region 7.5% 5.0% 5% 3.0% 0% East Southwest Pelagoniski Northeast Skopski Southwest Polog Vardar 42 0.00% 2.00% 4.00% 6.00% 43
    • Graph 11: Profile of children and young people who stopped attending Graph 12: Changes in the school performance of children and young people school during the period of analysis Single parent (father) 7.20% Single parent (mother) Remained same Married couple with children Married couple without children 15.90% Worsened 1-3 family 7.01% 3-5 family Improved 5 and above 67.80% One child Other Two children Three children Note: The category ‘Other’ comprised households with children in 1st grade education or Four and more below to whom comparative evaluation of school performance was inapplicable. Young people aged 19-25 either job losses or reduced income aged mainly between 0 and 6, closely Children aged 0-6 during the economic crisis. followed by young people aged 19– Children aged 7-14 25. The majority of their parents have Children aged 15-19 As this study has shown, the econom- no education or incomplete education Combination off all ages ic crisis was an exacerbating factor in and most are unemployed. According the difficulties faced by households in to their average household income, 0,00% 5,00% 10,00% 15,00% 20,00% 25,00% 30,00% 35,00% meeting increased expenses and utility the households in this predicament are debts. Given that educational costs are those living below the poverty line, i.e. become evident prior to the economic the crisis, the profile of those with low- not a negligible item on the household with no income or with a monthly in- crisis, while only 0.6% reported that er school grades proved to be similar to expenditure list, the respondents were come of below 5,500 MKD (89 EUR). the onset of the problem had occurred that of children excluded from educa- asked whether they had managed to in the previous 12 months. Of this lat- tion in the same period and to the pro- cover all school necessities (school In the focus group discussions, the par- ter group of children, the majority are file of children and young people from equipment, notebooks, school bags, ticipants from households with more from urban areas in the East and Pel- families whose living standards had de- etc.) for the school year 2009/2010. children suggested that the needs of agonija regions and are mainly of Turk- teriorated as a result of the crisis. The Of the 791 households with children of older children and girls were greater ish ethnic origin. Most come from the only exception found in this case is re- school age, only 38.1% reported hav- and that these children were therefore following types of households: unwed lated to ethnicity: namely, households ing been able to fully satisfy their chil- the most affected by economic hard- families with children, households with of Albanian ethnic background were dren’s school needs. 31.4%of house- ship. However, these participants also three to five family member, and house- the most affected by the problem of holds were only able to provide partially reported that their children’s needs holds with three children or more. This lower educational performance in this for their children’s school needs, while with regard to regular educational at- profile of children excluded from edu- twelve-month period. In addition, the 25% were not able to satisfy those tendance had not been deprived as a cation in the twelve months under con- study found no evident correlation be- needs at all. This is an important indi- result of the economic crisis. sideration corresponds with the profile tween lower school performance and cator as it shows the economic crisis of households which experienced a de- those households unable to fully pro- The results from the quantitative re- exacerbated the risk of reduced school crease in living standards as a result of vide for the educational needs of their search show that the most visible im- attendance in addition to reducing chil- the economic crisis. children, except in the case households pact of the economic crisis on educa- dren’s regular access to goods such as tion was a reduction in the ability of of Turkish ethnicity. educational equipment. The research also assessed changes households to pay for the necessary in the average school performance of While only a small percentage of chil- school equipment of their children. The majority of households unable to 55% of families with school-age chil- children and young people during the dren and young people were found to provide at all for their children’s school dren reported this to have been a prob- twelve-month period. According to be affected by the problem of poorer equipment were from the Vardar re- lem. This implies a need for greater household responses, only 7.01% not- educational performance in this period, gion, predominantly of Roma ethnic or- government support, not only in terms ed poorer school performance amongst it is important to note the correlation be- igin. Most were single-parent families, of providing free textbooks, but also their children during the previous year. tween the economic crisis and the risk though some were unwed couples with through the provision of additional sup- Although this deterioration in school among certain households of lowered children, have multi-member house- port to ease the burden of household performance may have occurred for school performance. Households most holds with four and more children. expenditure on education, particularly 44 reasons not directly connected with at risk include those that experienced The children of these households were during times of economic crisis. 45
    • Graph 13: The ability of households to provide necessary school as irregular school attendance, school mortality rate of 14.6 per 1,000 births equipment in times of economic difficulties exclusion, and dropping out of school. (2008, SSO) as compared to the Euro- In times of economic crisis, therefore, pean Union average of 6 per 1,000 live educational policies should provide births (WHO, 2007) and the European 4.6% more substantial and targeted support Region average of 7.62 per 1,000 live Yes, fully with particular attention to the follow- births (WHO, 2007). Significant vari- ing groups of children: children from ru- ations can be seen, moreover, in the 25.00% Only partially ral regions; children who live in families under-five and infant mortality rates 38.10% most at risk, i.e. single-parent families according to ethnicity, socio-economic and multi-member families with three or conditions and place of residence. Not at all more children; children from particular ethnicities (such as Roma, but also Turk- A relatively high vaccination cover- 31.40% ish); and children in families living on in- age of between 90 and 95% has been Other comes below the poverty threshold. sustained in the past 10 years. This is confirmed by a steady decrease in the incidence of vaccine-preventable Finally, a crucial question concerned Conclusions “We face a lot of problems. We don’t diseases. The positive correlation be- the ability of households to provide have enough money for the children’s tween immunization coverage and the their children with further education The study shows that there is no direct education, for example. They say ev- incidence of measles also indicates that (i.e. continuation to the next educa- correlation between the impact of the erything is free, but you still need a lot the country will be able to achieve the tional level). 50.1% of respondents economic crisis upon children’s educa- of money for extra school supplies. The second target of the MDG4 by 2015, stated that they would be able to pro- tional attendance and performance and books they give out are not good qual- i.e. the elimination of measles. How- vide for such future educational needs, the capacity of households to provide ity. Our unemployment affects our chil- ever, a small number of children do still while the remaining participants said their children with further education. dren. We used to give 50 MKD to each lack immunization and outreach work they would face difficulties in provid- The only exception found to this lack of our children. Now those 50 MKD are should be intensified in order to iden- ing their children with uninterrupted of correlation concerns the provision of shared among three children.” tify unvaccinated or unregistered chil- access to further education. school equipment: a majority of house- dren. The latter category is important holds reported having experienced “For children it’s more difficult as because birth registration is a problem Those households who reported being problems providing such equipment their needs are greater than ours. In in some areas, especially within the unable to support their children through during economic crisis. From the data our day those needs weren’t so great. Roma community (National Progress their next level of education due to fi- on the small group of households who At school, for example, the teachers Report on MDG, 2009). nancial constraints exactly matched experienced problems providing their would read and we would take notes. the profile of those households with children with regular access to school, Now they have a lot of books and that The former Yugoslav Republic of Mac- children who either attend school ir- mainly due to financial reasons, it can costs a lot of money.” edonia is not a country with a serious regularly or not at all. This suggests be seen that they fall in the same cat- problem of malnutrition amongst chil- that children from socially vulnerable egories of households who already Statements from focus group discussions dren. However, 2% of children under categories are even more at risk dur- faced these problems prior to the cri- with recently unemployed parents and parents receiving child benefits: the age of five are moderately under- ing times of economic constraints and sis. Children in this category face the weight and 0.5% are seriously under- may potentially dropout of the school risk of multiple school problems, such weight. Children whose mothers have system completely. no education are exposed to a higher risk of malnutrition. Among Roma Graph 14: The ability of households to provide their children with Health and nutrition children, this risk is two times higher further education (National Progress Report on MDG, The country is on track to achieve 2009). Yes, for all children as long as they show interest the Millennium Development Goals for 4.7% 0.5% health (National Progress Report on Children and young people should 7.4% Yes partially but not for all children MDG, 2009). The under-five mortality have unhindered access to healthcare rate in the country dropped from 33.3 through the health insurance of their per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 10.9 parents. Even in cases when parents No, due to finances 28.1% in 2008 (SSO, 2009). A similar trend are not employed, the state provides 50.1% is evident in the infant mortality rate, free health coupons for certain catego- No. due to family obligations which decreased from 31.6 per 1000 ries such as the unemployed, pension- live births in 1990 to 9.7 in 2008 ers, and social assistance beneficiaries. Maybe, depending on finances (SSO, 2009). Despite this progress, the 8.4% Access to free basic primary healthcare country still has a very high perinatal should be universal. Our study indicates 46 Other 47
    • Graph 15: Reasons for exclusion from health insurance and healthcare among Graph 17: Unvaccinated children aged 0–6 during the economic crisis, children and young people according to location 35% 30% 25% 20% 37.5% Town 15% 62.5% 10% Village 5% 0% Parents Parents not Lack of Other D.K. not employe registered at documentation Employment Agency for Employment implies either the exist- The majority of those lacking regular ence of institutional gaps in the social health control are aged 7–14 and come *D.K. – don’t know or declined/refused to answer from the Eastern region. Most live in protection system or a lack of knowl- edge about the system on the part of single-parent households with four or that 92.3% of households with children The majority of those excluded from potential beneficiaries. The next most more children and are mainly of Turk- and young people are covered by health the health insurance system are aged significant reason given for exclusion ish ethnic origin. insurance. Nevertheless,7.7% remains between 0 and 6 years old and are from health insurance was that of a a significant proportion of households mainly located in rural areas in the lack of required documentation, which Analysis of the profile of unvaccinat- with children and young people not Polog region. Most are of Roma and again indicates that potential benefici- ed children in the period of economic covered by national health insurance. Turkish ethnic origin. Most live in sin- aries, especially those with no educa- crisis shows these children are mainly Of these households, 1.8% have only gle-parent families, though a signifi- tion or lower education and those living from rural households of Albanian eth- partial insurance, i.e. not all of their cant proportion lives in households of in remote locations, should be provided nic origin. The majority of the parents children are covered due to lack of unwed couples. The parents of these with further support in accessing their of these children have incomplete pri- birth certificates and other registration children have either no education or rights to health insurance. This could mary education or primary education. documents. Analysis of the reasons only primary education and most are be achieved through the adoption of a These findings correlate with the MICS given by householders for the exclu- either pensioners or are self-employed. more user-friendly and pro-active ap- data, according to which low immuni- sion of children and young people from proach, including the provision of di- zation coverage is strongly associated health insurance suggests that they are It is a matter of concern that even some rect support in writing applications and with lower levels of education amongst primarily excluded due to their parents of those in categories who should be gathering required documentation. mothers; coverage rates for Roma and being unemployed or because they are protected under the health insurance The possible impact of the economic Albanian children are lower than cover- not registered with the relevant institu- system (such as the unemployed) are crisis upon the health of children and age rates for ethnic Macedonian chil- tions that provide access to insurance, not covered. The fact that the majority young people was analysed by survey- dren; and urban children are more likely such as the Employment Agency and of those not covered are also not regis- to be vaccinated than rural children. ing the regularity of children’s health the Centres for Social Work. tered as unemployed with the Agency The householders participating in the check-ups and immunisations over the twelve-month period. The survey focus group discussions indicated that Graph 16: Unvaccinated children aged 0–6 during their children’s needs in relation to the economic crisis, according to ethnicity results show that 90.1% of children regular healthcare and check-ups had did have regular annual health check- not been affected by the economic ups, while 9.3% lacked access to such crisis. However, a small number of regular health check-ups. In the same respondents did report that the crisis Macedonian period, 2.1% of children aged 0–6 had had a negative impact upon their 25% did not have regular immunisation. Of children’s mental health, making them Albanian those parents whose children had no insecure and introverted as these chil- 50% regular health check-ups, some 26% dren blamed themselves for the finan- cited their lack of financial means as cial predicament of their families. Turkish the reason for their children not having 25% check-ups, while an additional 19.5% This study also assessed the potential Roma stated that they lacked other resourc- effects of the economic crisis on chil- es such as access to transportation or dren’s nutrition. The risk of undernu- 48 health insurance coupons. trition was assessed according to the 49
    • Graph 18: Undernutrition among children in the analysed period, There are currently no relevant national according to region and age group “The lack of money causes tensions in statistics or research results available 30 the family. Because of our lack of re- regarding housing conditions among sources, my children go to school with- children and young people in the coun- 25 out breakfast, only a cup of cocoa.” tryHowever, it is common knowledge that there are a large number of infor- 20 “Five children, a sick husband, and all mal/illegal settlements in the country, most of them populated by the most of us living in one room borrowed from vulnerable ethnic groups, a high number 15 a relative. We don’t have the most ba- Children aged 0-6 of substandard houses without regu- sic housing and living conditions and lated property rights or housing titles Children aged 7-14 10 the children always lack food.” and lacking adequate access to water, Children aged 15-18 sewage networks and solid waste col- 5 Comments from focus group discussion lection. According to the Centre for with recently unemployed parents Regional Policy Research and Coop- and multi-member families: 0 eration (2004),12% of the dwelling East Vardar Skopje Pelagonia Polog Southwest Northeast Southeast stock in the country is of substandard quality and the number of families liv- Housing ing in substandard conditions is much higher. The UNICEF Situation Analysis number of meals with which children ployed. Most of the parents of these (2008) indicates that 95%, or 47,408 The purpose of the analysis in this sec- were provided. The quality of children’s children have either no regular income persons of Roma origin live in informal tion is twofold. It aims both to depict food was assessed by asking families or have an income of below 5,500 MKD settlements located on the outskirts of the housing conditions of children in whether they provided cooked meals (89 EUR). The dire socio-economic sta- towns and cities, implying that those the country and to assess the extent to for their children. tus of these parents is sufficient by it- most affected by the problem of sub- which the economic crisis has contrib- self to explain the undernourishment of standard housing are Roma children. uted towards a reduction in household According to the householders’ re- their children in the 12-month period expenditure on housing comforts and sponses, the majority of children and under consideration. This is confirmed The survey results show that 32.2% the needs of children. young people had regular daily meals, by the most common reasons which of respondents live in houses or apart- including at least one cooked meal. these parents gave themselves for their ments with only one or two rooms. The Poor housing during childhood can However, a small proportion of chil- inability to provide their children with majority of those with only one room have an extremely negative impact on dren and young people (5.3%) were adequate nourishment, i.e. their lack of (9.6%) live in the Vardar and Skopje many areas of a child’s life and pros- deprived of regular nourishment, while finances and cooking facilities. regions and more than half (56%) are pects, including their health, education 2.5% had only cold meals during the of Roma ethnicity. In terms of family and future economic opportunities. day. The reasons given by household- The results of this research into the status, most are unwed couples with Living in unfit housing or overcrowded ers for providing their children with only health status and nutrition of children children in households of three to five homes can result in poor health among cold meals indicate that these families and young people show that the eco- family members. The majority of chil- children and young people, especially lack sufficient financial resources and nomic crisis has not affected the ma- dren who live in households with only in terms of respiratory problems such essential equipment to offer their chil- jority of children in terms of their regu- one room are from families with three as chest infections, breathing difficul- dren a more diverse diet. lar access to healthcare, health check- children, followed closely by those ties, asthma and bronchitis. Research ups, immunization, and provision of who live in families with five children. undertaken by Solari and Mare (2007) Of those children deprived of regular regular nourishment. Only a small pro- The predominant age of children liv- indicates that crowded housing condi- nourishment, the majority are Roma portion of children experienced difficul- ing in such conditions is between 0–6. tions affect both the physical and psy- children aged 0–6 from the Eastern ties related to their health and nutrition Socio-economic profiling indicates that chological wellbeing of children. More- and Vardar regions. Of those children in the twelve-month period. The profile the majority of parents in these house- over, children living in bad housing are whose households were only able to derived of these children and young holds possess either no education or more likely to perform poorly at school provide them with cold meals, a major- people from the results of this study only incomplete primary education and or to dropout completely from formal ity belong to single-parent families in confirm the profile indicated in official that they are typically pensioners, un- education. Goux and Maurin (2005) rural areas. Most of the children whose data and other research, i.e. that those employed or self-employed. In terms of have shown that the probability of chil- parents were unable to provide them children most at risk live in rural and income, these are mostly households dren being held back a grade at primary with any regular meals at all were from remote locations in households with living below the poverty line with an or junior high school increases very sig- families of unwed couples in urban are- parents whose socio-economic status income of less than 5,500 MKD per nificantly the more persons there are as. The majority of children deprived of is low. month (89 EUR). per room in the child’s home. (See also regular nourishment live in households Evans, Saegert, & Harris 2001). 50 in which at least one parent is unem- 51
    • Graph 19: The housing conditions of children and young people Graph 20: The proportion of families living in separate or shared dwellings, according to ethnicity 70% 1.7% Own room 60% Shared room with another child 50% Macedonians 38.10% 40% Albanians 38.7% 31% Shared room with two other children 30% Turks Shared room with three or more other children Roma 20% 17.1% 4.5% Don’t have their own room 10% 6.7% 0% Other other famillies three families Live individually grandparents Shared house with two Shared house Shared house with among more than A substantial number of respondents number of families. With regard to the (38.7%) reported that their children needs of children, research has shown did not have their own room in which that the sharing of houses and rooms to sleep and study. This mostly applies among different families is generally to children of Roma ethnicity (40.4%), disadvantageous, negatively affecting though the situation among other eth- school performance, health and emo- The economic crisis also had a nega- Conclusions tive impact on the ability of households nicities is also worrying: 24.3% of tional well-being of children.5 to provide for the essential needs of The results of our research into hous- ethnic Albanians and 22.6% of ethnic children and young people. The sur- ing conditions served to confirm exist- Turkish children do not have their own In addition to assessing housing condi- vey results indicate that 57.4% of ing data and statistics regarding the room. The majority of these children tions, the study sought to assess the respondents made such cuts in the high risk of housing poverty among are between 0 and 6 years old. Lack of economic constraints experienced by twelve-month period under consid- Roma children. In addition, our data sufficient rooms – and lack of separate households in relation to their expendi- eration. These cuts mostly related indicates that one third of households personal space, in particular – inhibits ture on the housing needs of their chil- to expenditure on children’s clothes live in dwellings with only one to two the development and learning capaci- dren and on home products over the and shoes, money for entertainment, rooms, which is insufficient space for ties of children. twelve-month period. According to the pocket-money, school equipment and families with children. Furthermore, survey results, 35.8% of households extra-curricular activities such as for- 38.7% of all children do not have their Households were additionally assessed did not need to reduce their expendi- eign-language classes and computer own room, while more than 40% live as to whether they occupied their ture in the last twelve months. The re- courses. Those that made cuts in most in overcrowded dwellings, i.e. share dwellings individually or shared their maining majority of households were or all of the abovementioned items are dwellings with several other families. living-space with other families. The forced to cut at least one item from predominantly from rural areas in the Overcrowding is particularly evident majority of households interviewed their household needs. Most cut sev- South-East region and of Roma or Turk- among children of ethnic Albanian ori- (58.1%) live as parents and children eral items from amongst the follow- ish origin. Most of these households gin. separate from other family members ing household needs: entertainment, are families with five or more mem- or other households. The remaining furniture, utility bills, personal hygiene bers. Most such households reported In addition, the results imply that families share their dwellings as fol- products and house-cleaning products. a monthly income of less than 5,500 households have primarily reduced lows: with their extended family, i.e. Those that made the greatest number MKD (89 EUR). their expenditure on entertainment, grandparents (32.7%); with two oth- of cuts in expenditure are mainly from furniture, utility bills, personal hygiene er households (6.7%); or three other the South-Eastern region and are main- The focus group discussions further products and house-cleaning products. households (1.8%). The vast majority ly of Roma ethnicity, though many revealed that the economic crisis neg- Household cuts were also evident in of families who live in dwellings shared Turkish respondents also belong in this atively affected the ability of house- relation to children’s needs for clothes with three or more other families are of category. In terms of family type, the holds to meet their children’s needs and shoes, pocket-money, and school ethnic Albanian ethnicity. Such hous- households which made the most cuts for clothes, educational equipment, equipment. The reduction of expendi- and various non-essential items such ture on housing essentials during the ing arrangements, whereby more than were as follows: families with three as entertainment, mobile phones, and 12-month period implies that the eco- one family share a dwelling, partly re- to five members; families with four or excursions. In a small number of cas- nomic crisis has exacerbated the hous- flect traditional/patriarchal types of more children; and families with chil- es, predominantly among multi-mem- ing conditions of children and young family relations in the country, and dren aged between 0 and 6. These cuts ber households, and especially Roma partly result from the socio-economic were mostly evident among households people. This data should serve as an households, the economic crisis also important signal of the need for in- difficulties experienced by a significant with at least one unemployed parent. led to a reduction in expenses on chil- creased government activities aimed at 52 5 See for example: Raynolds, L. “Full House?: How overcrouded housing affects families, Shelter dren’s food and nutrition. improving the housing standards of the 53 2005”, or, “Harker, L. “”Chance of a Lifetime – The impact of bad housing on children’s lives” Shelter, 2006
    • most vulnerable households and their children. According to that data, the in the majority of these households, they had not been able to assist their children. average time spent on these activities with the father typically working in the children with their homework. This re- per day was much greater amongst public sector or in some form of self- sult is possibly a matter of concern in women as compared to men, amongst employment, and the mother typically that it may indicate a lack of interest “We can’t afford to pay for electricity the unemployed as compared to the working in the private sector. Most amongst these parents in helping their and water. I know people who live in employed, and amongst rural house- have secondary education or higher ed- children with school assignments. the dark because of these problems. holds as compared to urban households ucation. The average monthly income We don’t have wood for heating, not (State Statistical Office, 2005). of each parent in these households is Other reasons given by respondents for only because it’s expensive but be- 18,000 MKD (294 EUR) per month. not assisting children with schoolwork cause there’s no one to buy it from. Our study also asked parents about the included the following: increased time Our electricity is always cut off when average amount of time they spent per A related task of this study was to as- spent seeking and applying for jobs; in- we don’t pay the bills –there’s no toler- day with their children. According to sess the extent to which the econom- creased obligations outside of the fam- ance.” the results, 57.7% of households spend ic crisis had led to a reduction in the ily; the delegation of responsibility for more than six hours per day with their amount of support given by parents to such assistance to the other parent; as ”We always make plans about how to children. Of those parents that spend their children in fulfilling their school well as variations and combinations of earn and how to spend. We always less than one hour a day with their chil- assignments. Asked whether they had these reasons. think of our children first. But once dren, the majority are ethnic Macedoni- had time to assist their children in com- you’ve paid your bills, there’s nothing ans from urban areas in the Pelagonia pleting their school assignments in the The children most affected by such left in the end. You can’t have a strat- region. Most are married couples, typi- twelve-month period, 60.2% of house- lack of assistance, regardless of the egy when there’s no income.” cally with two children in households holds answered positively. However, reasons given, are mainly in the age of three to five family members. The it is significant that 26.5% reported range of 15 to 18 and come from sin- Comments from focus group discussions majority of parents who spend less that they had not been able to assist gle-parent families in households with with multi-member families time with their children have higher their children in such tasks in this pe- two children. This suggests that single education (two years post-secondary riod. The most common reason given parents may suffer from insufficient education) degrees. This profile im- by parents for not having had time to time and energy to fully support their plies that those parents who spend the help with their children’s homework children’s needs. The fact that lack of least time with their children are typi- was that of an increase in their work parental support in schoolwork applies Leisure time cally from households not considered obligations. primarily to older children also suggests to be particularly socially vulnerable or that some parents may not provide The aim of this section is to analyze the directly affected by the economic cri- A significant result of this part of the significant educational support once impact of the economic crisis upon the sis. It may be speculated that the rea- survey was that 14.5% of the respond- their children have completed primary leisure time of children and parents. In sons for parents in these households ents stated that they did not know why school or become more independent. particular, it seeks to assess whether spending comparatively less time with economic constraints lead to a reduc- their children relates to the higher pre- Graph 21: Cuts in household expenditure, according to particular items tion in the time spent by children with occupation of both of the parents with their parents and the extent to which their work, as well as to the financial 3.9% such constraints force children into capacity of these households to pro- 0.9% performing various tasks in order to vide their children with extra-curricular contribute to household income. Un- activities such as language classes, 2.1% like previous sections, the results of computer courses and sports. Togeth- our survey in this section cannot be er with home entertainment activities 2.5% compared with official statistics or (computers, games, etc.), this greatly 4% other relevant research undertaken in contributes to diminished interaction the country as such data does not ex- between parents and children. 31.7% ist. The only official statistics available in this domain are those produced by Of all the households interviewed in 18% the State Statistical Office for the Time the survey, 13% reported that the eco- 35.8% Use Survey undertaken in 2004. With nomic crisis had led to a reduction in regard to the relationship between par- leisure time spent between parents and 1.1% ents and children, however, this offi- children. The main reason given for 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% cial survey limited itself to asking re- this reduction was that the parents in spondents how much time they spent these households had experienced an Personal hygiene products Housekeeping products Utility bills on the physical care and supervision increase in their workload. This expla- of children and how much time they nation seems to be confirmed by the Furnishing Enterteinment Most of the above items spent teaching and playing with their fact that both parents are employed 54 2-3 of the above items No cuts Other 55
    • Graph 22: Cuts in household expenditure on the needs of children The majority of those compelled to Analysis of the focus group discussions and young people take up work in this period were young also suggests that the economic crisis people aged 19–25, followed by chil- has increased the incidence of child la- dren aged 15–19. Most are of Albanian bour in the country, especially among 45% ethnicity and live in urban areas in the agricultural households. The represent- 40% South-East region in households with atives of multi-member households in 35% five or more members. In general, the these discussions reported that, al- 30% 25% involvement of children in economic ac- though their children had not been en- 20% tivities is prohibited unless it is ensured gaged in economic activities, the needs 15% that such activities do not affect their of their households might eventually 10% education and are not detrimental to 5% require such extra work to be under- 0% their physical, cognitive, or psychologi- taken by children. cal development. A disturbing finding from our study, however, is that 4.2% Conclusions of the households surveyed included young children aged 0 to 6 who were The results of the survey concerning economically engaged in 2009. These results imply that the economic crisis the relationship between the economic and the associated reduction in family crisis and the amount and quality of lei- This can be potentially dangerous for our research indicate that the prevailing incomes has not only contributed to an sure time spent by parents with their certain categories of children, especial- majority of children and young people increase in the number of children and children suggests that only a small ly as those in transition from one level (76.2%) did not go on summer vaca- young people undertaking economic proportion of children have suffered of education to another (e.g. from pri- tion this year. While this confirms our activities but has also forced some a reduction in the time they spend mary school to secondary school) may assumptions as to the general standard very young children to engage in work. with their parents and that this reduc- require additional assistance, not less. of living of households throughout the Working at so early an age can be par- tion was mainly due to the economic country, the research results also show constraints imposed on their parents Mutual leisure time spent between par- that the economic crisis had an impact ticularly harmful for children in socially and the increased amount of work en- ents and children on recreational or on the ability of some households to vulnerable families, increasing the risk gagements of their parents outside the cultural activities was also assessed. provide their children with summer va- of their school performance deteriorat- household. However, this section has The results indicate that the majority cations. Thus, 4.5% of households re- ing and of their eventually dropping also signalled some of the threats aris- of parents (57.3%) did spend quality ported that they had been able to pro- out of school altogether. The majority ing from the economic crisis in terms time with their children on at least two vide their children with a summer vaca- of children engaged in such work are of lack of parental time. This can be occasions per week over the twelve- tion in the previous year but had not from households in which the father is seen in the following findings: the de- month period, including trips to parks, been able to do so in the twelve-month typically employed in the private sector crease in the average number of hours concerts, plays, and visits to relatives. period under consideration. In the cur- or self-employed, while the mother is parents spend with their children; However, 35.4% of parents reported rent socio-economic context, summer unemployed. The average monthly in- the lack of support given by parents that they had not had time to spend vacations have come to be a luxury for come of the households to which these to their children in completing school most families. children belong is between 5,000 and assignments; and the lack of mutual with their children on such activities. 8,000 MKD (81 and 130 EUR). visits to cultural or other events out- The majority of these parents (63.4%) cited a lack of financial resources as Finally, this study sought to determine their main reason for not spending whether the economic crisis had con- Graph 23: Average time spent per day by parents with their children, time with their children on recreational tributed to an increase in child labour in according to ethnicity or cultural activities. These reductions the country. Asked about the econom- reported in the amount of time and fi- ic activities of their children over the Other nances available to parents over the previous twelve months, most house- twelve month-period can be linked to holds responded that their children had not been included in such activi- 6+ the impact of the economic crisis. ties. However, a significant number of The economic crisis negatively affect- households (37.5%) reported that their 4-6 hours Roma ed the ability of households to provide children had indeed become engaged in Turks their children with a range of activities such activity since the beginning of the 2-4 hours and opportunities. Summer holiday va- period, while 8.2% said their children Albanians cations are amongst the activities most had already been economically engaged 2 hours Macedonians valued by children and were thus in- before the period under consideration. cluded in the study’s assessment of This increase of 29.3% between 2007 Less than 1h. how the economic crisis has affected and 2008 can undoubtedly be related 56 children’s leisure time. The results of to the economic crisis. 0% 1% 2% 3% 4% 5% 6% 7% 8% 57
    • Graph 24: The main reasons for parents reducing the leisure time they spend with their children 2.1% 1.5% 0.9% 1.7% 7.6% 0% 1% 2% 3% 4% 5% 6% 7% 8% side of the household. Besides the is- sue of less frequent mutual interaction “My daughters are working in their free between children and parents amongst time because there’s not enough mon- certain households, additional threats ey to go round.” arising from the economic crisis include the foregoing of summer vacations by “My children are still very young, but the majority of households as well as if they were a little older I would put the engagement in economic activity them to work.” by some children in order to support the income of their households. These Statements from focus group discussion threats present risks to the overall with families engaged in agricultural well-being of children, including those activities: of alienation between children and par- ents, misbehaviour at school, social exclusion and child labour. Parents and the competent state institutions alike should take heed of these risks in order to prevent the onset of further negative family or socially destructive trends. “Young people have no jobs because the economic crisis isn’t only happen- ing here but everywhere in the world. So there’s no work for parents, let alone their children.” Graph 25: Summer holiday vacations of children and young people 17.3% Didn’t have a summer vacation this year 3.3% Didn’t have a summer vacation this year, only previous 4.5% Had a summer vacation this year, not previous 74.5% Had a summer vacation both this and last year 58 59
    • PART THREE: KEY FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS This study has sought to identify and The Impact of the Economic Crisis outline the ways in which the main on Standards of Living socio-economic consequences of the global economic crisis have affected Households in Difficult households in the country and, above Economic Times all, to assess the impact of the crisis on the well-being of children and young The economic crisis has led to a reduc- people in the country. tion in the incomes of approximately one third (38.3%) of households in the Our analysis of the data and informa- country. The regions most affected tion gathered in this study has shown by this decline in the period mid-2008 the difficulty of separating the effects to mid-2009 were the South-Eastern of the recent economic crisis from pre- and Polog regions. Income reduction existing socio-economic conditions was most prevalent amongst the fol- and processes in the country at both society-level and at the level of par- lowing types of households: families ticular types of households. In light of of single mothers; families of unwed this difficulty, the main findings of the couples with children; families with study are based on changes reported five or more members; and families by households in the period mid-2008 with four or more children. In terms of to mid-2009 while also taking into ac- employment status, this decline was count the previous socio-economic sta- predominant among self-employed and tus of these households as important unemployed people, while in terms of factors determining their ability to miti- household income the problem was gate the effects of the crisis. most evident amongst families in which The following sections outline the most the father earns a monthly income of important conclusions of this study. below 5,500 MKD (89 EUR) and the 66 mother receives no income at all. Thus 61
    • it can be seen that reductions in income Children in Difficult and are either unemployed or in private pect to face difficulties providing their brought about by the economic crisis Economic Times employment. children with uninterrupted school ac- have served to exacerbate the difficult cess, i.e. continuation to the next level economic conditions of those house- The risk of poverty among children is With regard to the impact of the crisis of education. The majority of potential holds already under financial strain due heightened during economic crisis by on educational performance, the study school drop-outs match the household to low and irregular incomes. reductions in household income and found that average school grades were profile of children who attend school job losses amongst parents. This study not generally affected in the twelve irregularly or not at all. Job losses during the period of eco- indicates that almost half of all house- months under consideration. However, nomic crisis were suffered by 17.5% holds – 48.1% – live below the pov- 7.5% of children did experience lower Children’s Health of the households interviewed, further erty threshold in terms of their monthly educational performance during this and Nutrition increasing the already high rate of un- income. Excluding those households period. Those most affected with this employment in the country. The major- with children in the age range ‘combi- problem were children from the East Access to primary healthcare is not ity of job losses (58.2%) were among nation of all ages’, the majority of chil- and Pelagonija regions, children living universal in the country. This study households living in urban areas, pre- dren living in poor households are aged in urban areas, children of Albanian found that 7.7% of households with dominantly in the following three re- 0–6. It is also disconcerting to notice ethnicity, and children from the follow- children are not covered by health in- gions: the Eastern region (20.9%); the that no less than 21.7% of all house- ing types of households: other unwed surance. It was further discovered that Skopje region (17.0%); and the Polog holds interviewed live with no income couples with children; households with the majority of children and young peo- region (14.3%). In terms of ethnicity, three to five members; and household ple excluded from the health insurance and in conditions of extreme poverty. the majority of job losses were record- with three children. system belong to households in the Again, the age group most affected by ed among Macedonians (35.7%), while such poverty are children between 0 following categories: those located in the types of household most affected and 6 years of age. More than half of the households the Polog region; those in rural areas; by job losses included the following: (56.4%) surveyed and interviewed for those of Roma and Turkish ethnicity; single-parent families; families with Amongst the various ways in which this study reported that they had been single-parent families; families of un- one to three family members; fami- reductions in household income have unable to fully provide for the school wed couples with children; families in lies with only one child; families with a negative impact upon children and needs of their children in the school which the parents have either no edu- young people between the ages of 19 young people are the restrictions these year 2008/09. This applied primarily to cation or only primary education; and and 25; and families with children aged between 0 and 6. reductions place on their regular access the needs of children and young people those with parents whose employment to goods and services such as books, for school equipment, but also to travel status is either that of pensioner or self- Almost ninety per cent of the house- school equipment, toys and comput- expenses and other items. This finding employed. The majority of children ex- holds interviewed reported having ers, etc. These restrictions hinder chil- is an important indicator that the eco- cluded from the health insurance sys- experienced increases in their family dren’s learning capabilities as well as nomic crisis has led to a reduction in tem are between 0 and 6 years old. expenses in the previous 12-month their overall intellectual development. the level of children’s preparedness for period. These increases were evident school. The majority of children and young among all households, with no signifi- Education people (90.1%) had regular health cant variations according to location, Finally, our study found that just under check-ups in the period under study. region, ethnicity, or family type. In ad- Our study found that the current eco- half of the households consulted ex- However, a significant number – 9.3% dition, 79.7% of households reported nomic crisis did not severely affect reg- that they had faced greater problems ular school attendance among children. paying their monthly bills for electrici- However, 8.8% of children and young ty, water and food, etc., than they had people did have problems with access experienced in the previous year. to education in 2009, with 4.2% not Financial exclusion is evident among attending school regularly and 4.5% the majority of households in the coun- not attending school at all. The results try . 65.7% of all respondents do not of the study regarding educational ex- possess a bank account, while 90.1% clusion among certain age groups cor- reported not having any financial sav- respond to official statistics on drop-out ings. The lack of a bank account limits rates. This problem was most evident the ability of households to accumulate among young people aged 19 to 25, savings, prevents them from undertak- those living in rural areas, those living in ing bank transactions and excludes single parent or multi-member families, them from credit and insurance oppor- and those of Roma ethnicity. The study tunities. A lack of savings, moreover, results also confirm that these children severely restricts the options available and young people typically come from to households to mitigate the effects households in which the parents have 62 of economic crisis. incomplete or low levels of education 63
    • – lacked access to regular health In terms of their family status, most ern region of the country. The majority ported that they had not had time to check-ups. This problem primarily af- are households of unwed couples with are of Roma ethnicity, though ethnic spend with their children on such ac- fected children aged 7–14 and was children and with three to five family Turks constitute a comparable propor- tivities. The majority of these parents most prevalent in the Eastern region. members. The average number of chil- tion. Most are families with three to (63.4%) attributed this problem to The majority of children lacking regular dren living in dwellings with only one five members and families with four or their lack of financial resources. health check-ups belong to households room is three, followed closely by the more children. The most common age with four or more children and are category of three to five children. The range of children in such households Seventy-six per cent of children and mainly of Turkish ethnic origin. Most predominant age range of children living is between 0 and 6 years old. Cuts in young people did not have a summer are from single-parent families. in these conditions is between 0 and 6 expenditure on household goods were vacation in 2008/9. This figure alone years old. The parents of households most evident among households with is an indicator of living standards The study also found that 2.1% of chil- suffering such confined dwellings are at least one unemployed parent. amongst the majority of households.. dren aged 0–6 lacked regular immuni- typically unemployed, self-employed, In the present socio-economic condi- sation in the 12-month period under or pensioners, and most of them have The study shows that around 57% of tions, a summer vacation is a luxury consideration. no education or only incomplete prima- households reduced their expenditure for most families. With regard to the ry education. These are mostly house- on the needs of their children during specific impact of the economic cri- Our analysis of the reasons why holds living below the poverty line with this period. Most of these households sis on the ability of families to afford households had been unable to pro- an income of less than 5,500 MKD per made reductions in their expenditure a summer vacation in this period, our vide health-insurance coverage, regu- month (89 EUR). on one or more of the following items: study found that 4.5 of children who lar health check-ups and/or immuniza- their children’s clothes and shoes, had had a summer vacation in 2008 tion for their children suggests that the More than one third of children and money for entertainment and pocket did not have a holiday in 2009. main cause of this problem lies with young people (37.7%) in this country money, school equipment, and extra- parents’ lack of financial resources and do not have their own room. Most of curricular activities such as foreign-lan- A significant number of children and means of transport necessary to fulfil those without their own rooms are of guage lessons and computer courses. young people (37.5%) participated in these requirements. Roma ethnicity (40.4%), although the Those households that made cuts in some form of economic activity in the situation among other ethnicities is most or all of these items are predomi- 12-month period under consideration. Undernutrition affected 7.8% of chil- also worrying: 24.3% of ethnic Albani- nantly from the South-Eastern region Prior to this period, only 8.2% of them dren and young people in this 12- an children and 22.6% of ethnic Turk- and most live in rural areas. The major- were engaged in such activities. This month period. Of these children, 5.3% ish children do not have own rooms. ity are of Roma and Turkish origin and increase of 29.3% can undoubtedly be were deprived of regular nourishment, The majority of these children are be- belong to families with five or more connected to the current economic cri- while 2.5% had only cold meals during tween 0 and 6 years old. A lack of suf- members. The typical monthly income sis. Our study further reveals that 4.2% the day. These children are primarily ficient rooms in household dwellings, of such households is below 5,500 of the households interviewed included from the Eastern and Vardar regions. and particularly children’s lack of sepa- MKD (89 EUR). children aged 0 to 6 who were en- The majority of children reported to rate personal space, may inhibit their gaged in economic activities in 2009. have been provided with only cold development and learning capacities. Leisure Time The majority of these children are from meals were those living in rural areas, More than 40% of children and young the South-East region and most live in while the majority of children suffering people live in overcrowded dwellings, Thirteen per cent of households in- urban areas. Most are of Albanian eth- from no regular meals at all were from i.e. share premises with several other terviewed indicated that the econom- nicity and belong to households with urban areas. The prevailing majority of families. One third of households live in ic crisis had led to a reduction in the five or more members. these children are of Roma ethnicity. houses with only one to two rooms, in- amount of time spent between parents Amongst those provided with only cold dicating improper or insufficient hous- and children. The main reason given by The threats to quality time spent by meals, most are from single-parent ing space for children (as well as for all parents for this reduction was their in- parents with their children, or by chil- families, while those lacking provision family members). creased workload in the twelve months dren performing non-economic activi- of any regular meals are predominantly between mid-2008 and mid-2009. ties, arising as a consequence of dif- from families of unwed couples. In the 12-month period under consid- ficult economic periods, pose certain eration, economic constraints forced While the majority of parents reported risks to the overall well-being of chil- Housing the majority of households to cut at that they had been able to help their dren: alienation between children and least one item from their expenditure children with their homework in this parents, for example, educational mis- One third (32.2%) of the households on household needs. Most families re- period, 26.5% reported that they had behaviour, social exclusion, and child consulted in our study live in dwellings duced several items from the following been unable to do so. labour. Parents and state institutions of only one or two rooms. 9.6% of categories: entertainment, furniture, should take heed of these risks in order these households have only one room, utility bills, personal hygiene products The leisure time spent by parents with to prevent more negative family or so- of whom the majority live in the Vardar and house-cleaning products. Those their children on recreational or cultural cially destructive behaviour. and Skopje regions and more than half households that made the greatest activities was also assessed. A signifi- number of cuts live in the South-East- 64 of whom (56%) are of Roma ethnicity. cant proportion of parents (35.4%) re- 65
    • medicine, as well as direct aid in the facilities should be provided where form of food and clothing. organised courses could be held to  More active measures should be enable them to complete their home RECOMMENDATIONS stances. Those worst affected by taken to generate youth employ- assignments job losses and reduced incomes in ment during times of economic cri- On the basis of the findings of this mid-2008 to mid-2009 were house- sis through investment youth em-  Policies to prevent child labour dur- study, this section recommends a holds with five or more members, ployment schemes and support for ing times of economic crisis should number of policies and measures to al- single-parent families, and house- youth volunteering, youth intern- be integrated into the Conditional leviate the impact of the current eco- holds with an average monthly in- Cash Transfers (CCT) scheme. In ships and youth entrepreneurship nomic crisis, and the impact of diffi- come of below 5,550 MKD. These programmes. addition, specialized support should cult economic times in general, on the households would benefit from indi- be given to families where child la- well-being of children and young peo- rect governmental support through  In addition to free textbooks, ad- bour most frequently occurs, such ple. These measures mostly fall within temporary subsidies for their utility ditional school supplies should be as agricultural households, house- the competence of government and and housing costs. provided free of charge to lower holds with five or more members, state institutions. However, they are household expenses related to edu- and Roma households. also relevant for other important actors  Official statistics on households cation. Organised transport should such as non-governmental organiza- should be improved to ensure up-to- be provided to help ensure access to These recommendations should be tions, private firms – e.g. banks and in- date data on health, housing and lei- education for all children, especially implemented through co-operation be- sure time. Having accurate data can surance companies – and international those living in remote locations. tween the public and the private sector help monitor the impact of further organisations. These recommendations with the involvement of agencies and deterioration of economic conditions are mainly focused on households and  Awareness-raising schemes should be organisations engaged in promoting on the well-being of children. children, and are intended to improve adopted to help socially vulnerable child welfare and child well-being.  Government support should be giv- child well-being in times of economic households claim the social protec- en to tackle the high level of finan- crisis. tion rights to which they are enti- Finally, the participants in the focus cial exclusion among households in the country. Such support should tled, e.g. their right to free health group discussions for this study of-  Child-friendly economic policies insurance if registered at the Em- fered the following recommendations include information and education should be designed and implement- ployment Centre. for improving their conditions during programmes; measures to facilitate ed during difficult economic times. difficult economic times: access to bank accounts; simplified This would involve the adoption of  Food and regular free meals should soft loans and face-to-face counsel- an expansionary fiscal policy includ- be provided in schools and through  The duration and amount of social ling; as well as reinforced services ing investments to generate em- for debtor advice and guidance. the opening of more “public kitch- benefits should be increased. ployment, enhance basic services ens” to reduce the risk of undernu- and provide incentives to increase  The duration and amount of social trition amongst the most vulnerable  Additional benefits and free serv- consumption in housing, goods and assistance benefits – including child children in society, particularly those ices should be provided for children services. Fiscal and monetary policy benefits – should be increased. This in households of Roma ethnic origin living in households receiving social stimuli aimed at protecting employ- should contribute towards covering who depend on social assistance assistance. ment and economic activity should increases in household expenses and have no other family income. have important beneficial impacts and help enable the unemployed to  Government supervision should be on growth. Prior to enacting, all poli- actively seek jobs.  Specialized “shops for the poor” increased to ensure that the rights cies should be analysed to take into should be opened where low-income of workers are respected in cases of account and maximize the positive  Direct financial support to combat families could purchase essential dismissal from employment. impact on children. child poverty during times of eco- products such as food and clothing nomic crisis should be provided for at lower (subsidized) prices.  Government subsidies should be  Any package of measures to be households living in extreme pov- distributed more fairly and without adopted by governments during dif- erty and households living below  Support should be given to meet any discrimination against any so- ficult economic times should include the poverty line, i.e. those with no the housing costs of poor house- cially vulnerable groups. measures directly aimed at the income and those with a monthly in- holds who have problems paying households most severely affected come of under 5,500 MKD. These their rent and mortgages. For those by the difficult economic circum- families should also benefit from living in overcrowded dwellings, 66 better access to free healthcare and 67
    • BIBLIOGRAPHY Ministry of Labour and Social Policy SPIL (2008), ‘Review of the Social Pro- AND REFERENCES (2009), Operation Plan for Active Pro- tection System in the former Yugoslav grammes and Employment Measures: Republic of Macedonia’, Skopje: World http://www.mtsp.gov.mk/WBStor- Bank Project. ABC 2009, ‘Concern that the financial Macedonian Economy and the Econom- age/Files/OP%202009%20PRE- crisis may cause poor children to suf- ic Situation in Macedonian Households, CISTEN%20TEXT%2001.07.2009. State Statistical Office (2005) Time Use fer’, http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/ Skopje: Friedrich Ebert Foundation doc Survey, Report, http://www. asiapac/stories/200901/s2461209. stat.gov.mk/pdf/1-2005/ htm Georgievski, D. 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(2007), ‘The es’, New York: United Nations Chil- in Low-Income Families’, Environment pdf Effects of Crowded Housing on Chil- dren’s Fund (UNICEF), Policy, Advocacy and Behaviour, Vol. 33, No. 2, pp. dren’s Wellbeing’. Paper presented at and Knowledge Management (PAKM), 165–180. Ministry of Labour and Social Policy the annual meeting of the American Division of Policy and Practice. (2007), Regulation on Social Financial Sociological Association: Friedrich Ebert Foundation (2009) The Assistance for Citizens at Social Risk, http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p_ Impact of the Financial Crisis on the http://www.mtsp.gov.mk/WBStorage/ mla_apa_research_citation/1/8/4/7/5/ 68 Files/pravilnik_soc.pdf p184752_index.html 69
    • ANNEX 4. Family type: 1. Single parent (mother) 2. Single parent (father) SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE 3. Married couple with children 4. Unmarried couple with children 5. Other ______________________________________________________________ Surveyor: ___________________________________________________ 5. Number of family members: 1. Between one and three Location:_____________________________________________________ 2. Between three and five 3. Above five Date:______________________________________________________ 4. 6. Number of own children in the family (including children from other marriages or adopted children) : QUESTIONNAIRE 1. One (To be completed by one of the parents in the household) 2. Two 3. Three Dear Mr./Mrs. 4. Four or more I would like to introduce myself and the survey that we are conducting. 7. Number of children according to age (if there are more children of a similar age, My name is ……………… and I would like to invite you to participate in this research add the number inside the parentheses): into the impact of the economic crisis upon families in Macedonia, and especially upon 1. 0-6 (_______) children. This survey is being conducted by the Centre for Research and Policy Making, 2. 7 –14 (_______) together with the local office of UNICEF. The survey will take 30 minutes at most and the 3. 15-18 (_______) information collected will serve as a basis for improving the quality of life of Macedonia’s 4. 19-25 (_______) children. 5. A combination of the ages above Are you a parent? 8. Parents’ education (the education of the respondent and his/her partner): Would you like to participate? 8a. Father: 8b. Mother: [if the respondent answers NO, then that interview is terminated and you move on to the 1. None 1. None next house. If he/she answers YES, then you continue with…] 2. Unfinished elementary 2. Unfinished elementary 3. Elementary 3. Elementary Can we please speak with the mother? 4. Unfinished secondary 4. Unfinished secondary 5. Secondary 5. Secondary [If she is not present, you can interview the father.] 6. 2-year tertiary 6. 2-year tertiary 7. 4-year tertiary 7. 4-year tertiary All the information gathered through this questionnaire is anonymous and your name will not be connected with any of it. For quality-control purposes, we would like to ask you to give us your home phone number. It is possible that you may be contacted during 9. Employment status of parents (employment status of the respondent and his/her the course of the day by the Centre for Research and Policy Making and asked a few partner): questions regarding the course of the survey. 9a. Father 9b. Mother Telephone number of respondent_____________________________________ 1. Employed private sector 1. Employed private sector If you are ready, we may start with some basic demographic information. 2. Employed state secto 2. Employed state sector 3. Own business 3. Own business 4. Unemployed 4. Unemployed A) DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION 5. Retired 5. Retired 6. Other ___________________ 6. Other _____________________ 1. Age: 1. 18-29 10. Monthly income of the family: 2. 30-49 3. 50-65 10a: Father 10b. Mother 4. Above 65 1. No income 1. No income 2. Sex: 1. Male 2. Up to 5,500 MKD 2. Up to 5,500 MKD 2. Female 3. 5,501 – 8,000 MKD 3. 5,501 – 8,000 MKD 3. Ethnic identity: 1. Macedonian 4. 8,001 - 13,000 MKD 4. 8,001 - 13,000 MKD 2. Albanian 3. Turkish 5. 13,001 - 18,000 MKD 5. 13,001 - 18,000 MKD 4. 70 Roma 6. Above 18,000 MKD 6. Above 18,000 MKD 71
    • C) INFORMATION REGARDING THE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN C) INFORMATION REGARDING THE LIVING STANDARDS OF THE FAMILY 19. Do your children regularly attend school? 11. Has your income changed in the past 12 months? 1. Yes, kindergarten (move on to question no. 22) 2. Yes, elementary (move on to question no. 22) 1. Yes, it increased 3. Yes, secondary (move on to question no. 22) 2. Yes, it decreased 4. Yes, tertiary (move on to question no. 22) 3. Yes, it became irregular 5. No, some of the children do not attend regular education (move on to 4. No, it remained the same question no. 20) 5. Other _______________________________________________________ 6. No, they do not attend any education (move on to question no. 20) 7. No, they are not of school age (younger than 1 year and older than 25) 12. Has any member of your family lost his/her job (permanent, temporary, part-time) (move on to question no. 25) in the course of the last 12 months? 1. Yes 20. What are the reasons for your children not attending school regularly or at all? 2. No 1. No financial means 3. Other __________________________________________________ 2. No transport to the school 3. My child/children has/have to work in and outside of the family 13. Did the family expenses increase during the course of the past 12 months? 4. There is no benefit to be gained from attending school 1. Yes 5. Other ________________________________________________________ 2. No 3. Other _______________________________________________________ 21. Is this lack of regular attendance a new occurrence that began during the past 12 months? 1. Yes 14. During the course of the past 12 months, have you had greater problems covering 2. No monthly expenses (electricity, water, food)? 3. Other _________________________________________________________ 1. Yes 2. No 22. Were you able to fulfil all the school-related needs of your children (books, 3. Other _______________________________________________________ notebooks etc.)? 1. Yes, fully 15. During the course of the past 12 months, have you had greater problems servicing 2. Yes, partially your debts connected to loans? 3. No 1. Yes 4. Other __________________________________________________________ 2. No 3. I have no outstanding loans 23. Compared to the year before, have the average grades of your child changed during 4. Other _________________________________________________________ the course of the past 12 months? 16. Do you have a bank account? 1. No, they have remained the same 1. Yes 2. No 2. Yes, they have become worse 17. Does your family have any financial savings? 3. Yes, they have become better 1. Yes 2. No 4. Other __________________________________________________________ 3. Other _________________________________________________________ 18. How do you make ends meet during times of reduced family income? 24. Will you be able to provide your child with opportunities to continue his/her (unemployment, times of financial crisis) Pick one (the biggest source): education? 1. Yes, for all my children as long as they are interested 1. Small trade 2. Yes, but only partly 2. Construction 3. No, due to financial reasons 3. Physical work, loading, transport 4. No, due to family obligations 4. Agriculture 5. Other __________________________________________________________ 5. Herding cattle 6. Maybe, depending on our financial means 6. Housework 7. Assistance from relatives abroad 8. Parents’ retirement income 9. I have never had reduced family income 10. 72 Other _______________________________________________________ 73
    • D) INFORMATION REGARDING THE HEALTH AND NUTRITION OF CHILDREN 34. Did you have time to work together with your child on his/her homework and other 25. Do your children have health insurance? school-related responsibilities? 1. Yes, all of them (move on to question no. 27) 1. Yes (move on to question no. 36) 2. Yes, partially (move on to question no. 26) 2. No (move on to question no. 35) 3. No (move on to question no. 26) 3. Other ______________________________________________________ 4. Other _________________________________________________________ 35. Why didn’t you have time to work together with your child on his/her homework 26. Why don’t all of your children have health insurance? and other school-related responsibilities? 1. The parents are not employed 1. My partner is responsible for this 2. We are not registered with the unemployment office 2. I had increased work related obligations 3. We do not have the necessary documents (birth certificates, citizenship 3. I had increased obligations regarding job-seeking related activities certificates, etc.) 4. I had increased obligations outside of the family 4. Other __________________________________________________________ 5. Don’t know 6. Other ______________________________________________________ 27. Have your children had regular health check-ups (including dental check-ups) in the course of the past 12 months? 36. During the past 12 months, did you have the opportunity to go with your child at 1. Yes least once a week to the park, to see friends, a show, a concert, or other types of 2. No entertainment? 3. Other __________________________________________________________ 1. Yes (move on to question no. 38) 2. Yes, they went with the other parent but I did not join them (move on to 28. Did your children receive regular inoculation shots during the past 12 months? question no. 37) 1. Yes 3. Yes, but without the parents (move on to question no. 37) 2. Yes, but not all of the children 4. No (move on to question no. 37) 3. No 5. Other ______________________________________________________ 4. No, there was no need (it was not a vaccination period) 5. No, they are not of the age for inoculation shots 37. For what reasons were you unable during the past 12 months to go at least once a 6. Other _____________________________________________________________ week with your child to the park, to see friends, a show, a concert, or other types of entertainment? 29. Did your children’s nourishment include regular meals (at least one cooked), during the course of the last 12 months? 1. Due to financial reasons 1. Yes 2. My partner is responsible for this 2. Yes, but only cold meals 3. I had increased work related obligations 3. No 4. I had increased obligations regarding job-seeking related activities 4. Other __________________________________________________________ 5. I had increased obligations outside of the family 6. My child is already mature enough and we do not spend a lot of time 30. Why did your child not have regular health check-ups and nourishment during the together past 12 months? 7. Don’t know 1. They had regular health check-ups and nourishment 8. Other ______________________________________________________ 2. The financial means were lacking 3. The conditions were lacking (equipment, health insurance coupons, 38. Did your children go on summer vacation? transport) 4. There was not enough time 1. Yes, this year and last year 5. Other _________________________________________________________ 2. Yes, last year but not this year E) INFORMATION REGARDING THE LEISURE TIME OF PARENTS AND CHILDREN 3. Yes, this year but not last year 31. How many hours per day do you spend together with your child? 1. Less than 1 h 4. No 2. 1-2h 3. 2-4h 39. During the past 12 months, did your child help or perform any work-related 4. 4-6h activities in or outside of the family? 5. More than 6h 1. Yes 32. Has the amount of time you spend together changed during the last 12 months? 2. Yes, they have done so for several years now 1. Yes, it decreased (move on to question no. 33) 3. No 2. Yes, it increased (move on to question no. 34) 4. Other ______________________________________________________ 3. No, it remained the same (move on to question no. 34) 4. Other ___________________________________________________ 40. Did your children spend more time outside of the home during the past 12 months (playing, visiting friends etc.)? 33. Why did the amount of time you spend together change during the last 12 1. Yes months? 2. No 1. My/our work related obligations increased 3. Do not know 2. My/our obligations connected to looking for work increased 4. Other _______________________________________________________ 3. My/our obligations outside of the family increased 4. Don’t know 5. Other ______________________________________________________ 74 75
    • F) INFORMATION REGARDING THE CONDITIONS AND QUALITY OF HOUSING FOCUS GROUP QUESTIONS 41. How many rooms does your home have? 1. One Focus Group 1: 2. Two Families that live off remittances from abroad 3. Three 4. Four 1. During the course of the last 12 months, has your family received fewer or more 5. Five or more remittances from your relatives who work abroad? 6. Other _______________________________________________________ 2. Do these financial means from abroad arrive in regular intervals or irregularly? 3. Are they equally high each time around or different? 4. How important are these financial means in comparison to the total family income? 42. Do your children have their own room or place where they sleep/study? Are they the sole income or only an additional income for the family budget? 1. Yes, their own room 5. Does your family have any savings? 2. Yes, but they share it with one sibling 6. What are the strategies for surviving when the family has a reduced income or 3. Yes, but they share it with two siblings complete lack of income from outside? 4. Yes, but they share it with three siblings 7. How does this influence the children? Which of their needs are not adequately 5. No fulfilled? 6. Other _______________________________________________________ 8. Are there any workers in your household who used to work abroad but have returned in the last 12 months? 43. Does your family live independently or do you share housing premises with another 9. How has this influenced their families? family? 1. We live independently 2. We live together with our parents (grandfather, grandmother) 3. We live together with two other households Focus Group 2: 4. We live together with more than three households Families that receive child benefit 5. Other ________________________________________________________ 1. Has the amount of child benefit changed in the last 12 months? 44. During the course of the last 12 months, did you reduce your expenditure on some 2. Did the amount of child benefit represent a vital/significant financial income, or house related items? was it only a supplement to your family income? 3. Which products/services are usually procured through child benefit? 1. Yes, personal hygiene (soap, toothpaste) 4. During the last 12 months, did you receive – in addition to child benefit – any other services (goods) from the Centre for Social Work (e.g. books, clothing, food, 2. Yes, house cleaning products donations, utility cost discounts, etc.)? 5. In the course of the last 12 months, did your family face difficulties paying utility 3. Yes, utility bills (electricity, water) bills, credits, debts etc.? 6. What are the main problems that you have encountered during the past 12 4. Yes, furniture months? 5. Yes, entertainment 7. What are the survival strategies that you have employed in times of reduced family income? 6. Yes, several of the above 8. During the course of the last 12 months, did you have to reduce your expenditure on any of your children’s needs (education, health, etc.)? 7. Yes, 2-3 of the above 9. Are the children participating in some kind of work/ assistance in order to supplement the family income? 8. No 10. Do you think that child benefit should be increased due to the economic crisis? If so, why? 9. Other _________________________________________________________ Focus Group 3: Recently unemployed individuals from the textile and metal industry sectors 45. During the course of the past 12 months, did you reduce your expenses on fulfilling the needs of your children? 1. Did you receive a termination notice before being laid off? If so, how long was the period of notice? 1. Yes, school-related expenses 2. Before being laid off, did you receive all outstanding back wages and benefits 2. Yes, clothes and shoes (retirement, healthcare, etc.)? 3. Yes, additional after-school activities (language courses, etc.) 3. Which of the following categories of employees were laid off in your company? - employees who had worked at the company for shorter periods 4. Yes, entertainment allowance - Older workers (aged over 55) 5. No - Younger workers - Women 6. Other _________________________________________________________ - Others______________________ 7. Yes, several/all 4. Did your family have any savings when you were laid off? 76 77
    • 5. Do you currently receive any supplement from the Employment Agency arising from prior insurance? Do you receive any social assistance from the Centre for Focus Group 5: Social Work if you had no prior insurance)? Agricultural families 6. If you receive no supplements from the Agency or the Centre, what are the 1. Has the income of your family changed during the last 12 months? reasons why you do not receive such supplements? 2. Have sales of your products decreased during the last 12 months? 7. Do any other members of your family work or otherwise receive an income? 3. Have you applied for a loan over the past 12 months? Was your application 8. Are those in your family who have recently been laid off now actively looking for successful? If not, what were the reasons for your application being rejected? (If work? you have not applied for a loan over the past 12 months, what are the reasons you did not do so?) 9. How are you managing to cope in this period of unemployment? 4. Have there been any changes in the conditions for receiving a credit or loan 10. Are you optimistic that you will find work again? compared to a year ago? If yes, what are the changes? Is it easier or more difficult to procure a loan now? 11. In what ways has your lack of employment affected your children? 5. Has your family expenditure decreased over the past 12 months? If your family 12. Are your children active in working or otherwise helping to contribute to the family has reduced its expenditure, which sector(s) of goods or services saw the greatest income? reduction? 6. Is there any mutual assistance amongst farmer families? If yes, what type of Focus Group 4: assistance? Multi-member families (5+ members) 7. Have you taken advantage of any subsidies for farmers over the last 12 months? If 1. Has your income changed – decreased or increased – over the past 12 months? yes, which subsidies did you make use of? 2. What were the main sources of income for your family (salary, black-market 8. In what ways, if any, has the economic crisis affected your children? labour, social support, other state benefits, help from family and friends, etc.) over the past 12 months? 9. During the course of the past 12 months, have your children had to experience any reduction in the satisfaction of their needs for education, healthcare, food, leisure, 3. What are the main problems that your family has faced over the last 12 months? clothing, etc.? Which of their needs were not fully met? 4. What have been the priority expenditures of your family over the last 12 months? 10. Have you had sufficient means to satisfy the needs of all of your children equally— both boys and girls, younger and older, at different stages in their education? 5. Have you had problems paying the utility or other expenses of your family over the past 12 months? 11. Do your children participate in any work to supplement the family income? 6. What methods have you used to manage or survive during times of reduced family income? 7. Do your children regularly attend school? If not, what are the reasons why? 8. Do your children have regular health insurance, regular health check-ups and inoculation shots? If not, what are the reasons? 9. Do your children have their own room in your house where they can sleep and study? If not, with how many other individuals do they share their sleeping quarters? 10. During the course of the past 12 months, have your children had to experience any reduction in the satisfaction of their needs for education, healthcare, food, leisure, clothing, etc.? Which of their needs were not fully met? 11. Have you had sufficient means to satisfy the needs of all of your children equally— both boys and girls, younger and older, at different stages in their education? 1 This figure was taken from the SSO official statistics for 2009, and not from Eurostat 12. Do your children participate in any work to supplement the family income? 78 79
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