politics : culture : economics

Turning a blind eye to poverty in the east

In Economy, Society, Turkey on August 15, 2010 at 9:26 pm

I followed up my recent blog post about TurkStat’s estimates of regional poverty rates with a piece in Today’s Zaman today. The core focus remains the same: the skewing of poverty rates in eastern Turkey that results from using separate regional poverty thresholds rather than a single countrywide one.

But the TZ article has a bit more space than the blog post did to place those regional details in a bit of broader context. It looks at trends in Turkish income inequality over the past 25 years, and also highlights the sharp difference between Turkish and OECD averages when it comes to the gap between poverty rates in households with and without children.

From the article:

By any measure, Turkey is an unequal society. One commonly used metric is the ratio between the income of the quintile (or 20 percent) of society with the highest income and the quintile with the lowest. In Turkey, in 2008, the lowest quintile had an average income of TL 2,427 while the top quintile averaged TL 19,560. That’s a ratio of just more than 8:1. The OECD average is nearer to 5:1. Among the body’s 30 members, only Mexico has higher levels of inequality than Turkey.

There’s been quite a bit of movement in Turkey’s level of inequality in recent decades, but it hasn’t amounted to much in terms of cumulative change. According to the OECD, there was a sharp widening of inequality between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s. But in the decade that followed the trend was reversed: From 1994 to 2004 (a period including the deep economic crisis of 2001), the rate of inequality dropped sharply again, falling back to slightly below its 1984 position.

You’ll find the full piece here: Turning a blind eye to poverty in the east

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  1. […] to read more, there’s an online version of the article here (PDF). (On the inequality point, I highlighted in a recent piece how far Turkey has still has to go in this […]

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