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Statistics Office: 13.3 percent of population on brink of poverty in 2004


ACCORDING to data published by the National Statistics Office, 13.3 percent of Slovakia's population was at risk of sinking below the poverty line in 2004.

Poverty in Slovakia is defined as having a monthly income at least 60 percent below the average per person per household. Therefore, the monthly incomes of the population at risk were lower than Sk5,631 (€150).

The Statistics Office project, which looked into national income and living conditions in 2004, was entitled EU SILC 2005 and was carried out from May 16, 2005 to June 16, 2005 on a sample of 12,918 persons.

The Statistics Office found that children under 15 years are the most endangered group, since 17.8 percent lived below the poverty line. The results also showed that working people are more endangered by poverty than pensioners, since 8.6 percent of working people and 6.9 percent of pensioners were living at risk. In the household type category, single-parent households were most endangered, while households with only one dependent child were the least.

Net income per person was lower than Sk9,000 in half of all the households taking part in the survey. The greatest share of households in Slovakia, which was 12.6 percent, had a monthly income per household member ranging from Sk7,000 to Sk8,000, whereas the per person income in half of all households in Bratislava county was over Sk11,000, SITA wrote.


Typical Slovak politician - middle-aged male from West


THE TYPICAL candidate in the upcoming June 17 general election is a middle-aged male politician from Bratislava or western Slovakia, the Pravda daily reported.

This prototype fills the majority of top-ranked positions on the party slates, which are the positions that hold a realistic chance of winning parliamentary seats.

Candidates from eastern Slovakia are missing on most of the candidate lists.

"Shortcomings in our electoral system are very apparent here," said Ján Bunčák, a sociologist at Comenius University in Bratislava.

According to him, the proportional representation system, based as it is on just one electoral area (the whole country), has become absurd. As a result, quite naturally, there is a constantly widening gap between voters and their representatives.

Analyst Pavel Haulík thinks that Slovak politics and the parties themselves are too centralised, and even the election law supports this.


Youth smokers increasing


TEN to 20 percent of Slovak youth aged 15-19 do not play any sports, while 18 percent are regular smokers, the TASR news agency wrote on the basis of data provided by the public health institute ÚVZ SR.

Excessive consumption of cigarettes, alcohol and drugs is a growing trend, shows a poll carried out by ÚVZ SR's regional offices in 2004 to 2005.

On behalf of the ÚVZ SR, Elena Morvicová stated the poll also showed that three times as many boys than girls were in good physical condition. As many as 80 percent of boys were interested in sports compared to 60 percent of girls.

The poll also showed, however, that mental health is declining among youth. Morvicová said it was surprising how many had reported experiencing negative psychological feelings, such as anxiety, exhaustion, and even emptiness.

Also revealing was the low health awareness among Slovak youth, who suffer from an irregular and unhealthy diet of too little fish and too many sweets.


Two-bedroom flats made up one-third of completed apartments


TWO-BEDROOM apartments made up the biggest portion, with 29.1 percent, of all the 14,863 apartments completed last year, the SITA news agency wrote.

Three-bedroom apartments followed with a 25.5 percent share. In the category of tenement flats, of which 2,032 units were completed in 2005, one-bedroom apartments accounted for over 45 percent, followed by two-bedroom apartments with a 35.7 percent share.

"Sizes of tenement flats reflect the state's housing policy, which aims to support construction of a larger number of affordable apartments," said Construction Ministry's spokesman Ján Pálffy.

According to him, the functional system of the state support also influenced the trend of a gradual increase in the portion of municipal apartments and a drop in the portion of apartments under private ownership.


Slovakia second in CE in retail outlets saturation


FOLLOWING the Czech Republic, Slovakia placed second in hypermarket saturation in Central Europe. A study by GfK Slovakia found that, in early 2005, there were 13 hypermarkets in Slovakia per million inhabitants.

Within Slovakia, the Bratislava region leads with the biggest hypermarket selling area per 1,000 inhabitants, followed by the Trenčín and Nitra regions.

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