March 4, 2020
Pensions remain the main source of income for half of Greece’s households, a survey by the Small Enterprises Institute of the Hellenic Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen & Merchants (IME GSEVEE) has shown. The phenomenon is linked to the particularly large number of pensioners – 2.55 million, according to official figures – and the fact that unemployment remains at high levels while salaries remain low.
The survey shows that although the country has successfully concluded its third bailout, the decade-long financial crisis is still having a strong impact on Greek society. This is even more obvious in lower income brackets that continue to be at risk of serious social and economic uncertainties. The survey was held from late December to early January, that is before the coronavirus outbreak and whatever economic impact it has had so far.
The IME GSEVEE survey, conducted in association with Marc researchers, showed that 49.4 percent of households declared pensions as their main source of income, up from 49.1 percent a year earlier. This is more or less the same level seen since 2013, while in 2012 it had amounted to 42.3 percent.
At the same time, the survey shows that households with one salary or more as the main source of income decreased this winter to 37.1 percent from 40.1 percent in December 2018. There is a slight improvement among freelance and self-employed professionals, as the rate of those who said their takings from their personal enterprise is their main income rose from 67.7 percent to 8.7 percent in just one year.
Interestingly, 17.4 percent of respondents who said that their income has increased cited the return of at least one unemployed household member to the labor market. However, three in 10 households continue to have at least one jobless member. For the first time, the annual survey also recorded people returning to Greece after leaving at some point in the last few years, finding a rate of around 30 percent.