Hungary – Living conditions
- The income of the population consists of two major parts: income from work and social income. The change of earnings was influenced by numerous measures in 2012, above all by the minimum wage rise, the salary adjustment of employees in health care and the number and wage determination of public workers. Average monthly gross earnings of full-time employees increased by 4.6% to HUF 223 thousand last year, that – excluding family tax benefit – totalled to HUF 144 thousand in net terms, 2.0% more than in 2011. Along with the introduction of the new approach of the flat personal income tax system, real earnings – taking into account family tax benefit – significantly increased (by 5.8%) in 2011, which was followed by a drop (3.4%) in 2012.
- Pensions and pension-type benefits account for one fourth of the households` total income. The number of pensioners has showed a decreasing tendency since the turn of the millennium, although they still account for almost three tenths of the population. From 2012 the Hungarian pension system has significantly changed, some provisions were terminated or modified. The average amount of provision per recipient was HUF 96.6 thousand in 2012, in real terms 2.1% higher than in 2011.
- The family support system aims to reduce income differences between families with and without children; it includes benefits paid on universal basis, as well as insurance-based benefits. In 2011, new elements, relating to family tax benefits and aiming to encourage people to have and raise children, were built into the tax system, which made the situation of families with children more favourable.
- In 2012, household consumption diminished by 2.0% compared to the previous year, due to the increasing willingness to save, the decline in real wages and household lending, as well as the accelerating inflation. The household consumption expenditure accounting for four-fifths of the actual consumption has moderated by 1.4%, while the volume of transfers in kind from the general government decreased by 4.9%, and transfers received from non-profit institutions serving households decreased by 1.4% year-on-year.
- In respect of the consumption structure, the largest item of household expenditure accounting for the quarter of total expenditures is still housing and household energy; their rate is increasing year by year. This is followed by food products, on which households spent 23% of their total expenses. After spending on basic needs, such as housing, nutrition and transport to school and work, only 40% remained on the average for other expenditures, such as culture and entertainment, which significantly limited the free consumption of households.
- In 2012 consumer prices grew by 5.7%, faster than in the previous year, which was primarily strengthened by the significantly higher prices of fuels and alcoholic beverages. The VAT rate increase at the beginning of the year, the multiple increase in tobacco products excise tax, along with the change in the forint exchange rate also affected the consumer prices, which could not be compensated even by the price-depressive effect of the weak domestic demand. The inflation has exceeded the EU average every year since our accession to the European Union, the fastest rate of price increase was recorded in Hungary in 2012. 2013 brought a significant change in this respect: the rate of the price increase slowed down to 2.9% in the 1st quarter of the year.
- According to the data of the National Bank of Hungary, the households` gross financial asset was HUF 28.4 billion at the end of 2012, 3.9% more than a year earlier. The sum of debts amounted to HUF 9.7 billion, 13% less than at the end of 2011. The stock of foreign currency loans at the end of 2012 (HUF 4.9 billion), appearing on the liability side, showed a 26% decrease compared to the end of 2011. One of the factors of the decrease was the option of early repayment at preferential exchange rate, according to which HUF 712 billion foreign currency loan was paid back in the first two months of 2012. (The choice of early repayment appeared already in the last quarter of 2011, whereas HUF 642 billion valued foreign currency loan was repaid). At the end of 2012, the households` net financial asset amounted to HUF 18.7 billion, 15% more than in the year before. During the year, the net financing capacity of households was HUF 1,502 billion, accounting for 5.3% of the GDP.
- The recession has not left the housing market untouched, either. Since 2008 the volume reduction in housing construction has decreased, in 2012 however, fewer homes were built than ever before. Following the fast fallback of the past years, home building and the number of construction permits have decreased at a slow pace. The number of construction permits issued does not project an increase in housing for the future. The composition of home builders is still characterized by the drop in the proportion of enterprises. Since 2010 the mortgage market has been narrowing, which is due to the tightened credit conditions and the lower risk taking of the population.
- The cultural expenditure of the general government rose, and the support structure changed between 2010 and 2011. During this time, the households` cultural expenditure on current prices became less, and the difference between the cultural spending of the higher and lower income households rose.
- The use of cultural services changed differently, the attendance of theatre plays rose, while the concert and museum attendance has moderated, whereas the number of museum institution guests has been decreasing since 2007. At the same time, the number of civil initiatives related to culture, cultural communities, clubs and study circles grew in the past years.
- Between 2005 and 2012, the broadcasting time of the public service radio and the public service television significantly grew (especially at the beginning of the examined period). In the case of public service radio broadcasting, mostly the weight of news and information, while in the case of public service television broadcasting, mostly the weight of literature and entertainment strengthened.
- The book market is still in crisis, book sales have been declining for the past four years. In the case of book publishing, both the number of titles, as well as the number of their copies further moderated in 2012 compared to the previous year, except in the case of literary books and special literature. At the end of the last decade, the usage of libraries increased, the previous decreasing trend of borrowing activity stopped and the number of registered readers grew.
- In regard to life expectancy, our position is not improving on international level: in Europe there are only four nations having lower life expectancy than the Hungarians; with this we are in the middle range among the post-socialist countries. However, there are substantial differences in mortality within the country according to sex, geographical location and type of settlement. The country`s cancer mortality rate is one of the least favourable in Europe (and in the whole world). While the total death rate has decreased by 4% since 2005, the cancer-related death rate has risen by 4% and the number of new cancerrelated diseases has increased by 14%. Besides the main causes of death – cardiovascular diseases and cancer –, ability to work is mostly decreased by mental diseases and problems due to the lack of physical exercise.
- According to the 2011 census, 4.6% of the population lives with a disability and 16.6% with a chronic disease. 70% of disabled people and 77% of people living with chronic diseases are aged 50 years or more.
While the educational level of people living with disability is much lower than average, the ones living with chronic diseases show only slightly lower educational level than the average, which probably can be attributed to the age structure.
- In 2010 in Hungary, – similarly to the year of 2009 – 7.8% of the GDP was spent on health care expenditure; calculating on purchasing power parity, it reached EUR 1,244 per person. 64% of the total health care expenditure is covered by the general government.
- The social protection expenditure has fallen following the worst year of the crisis (2009), and, consequently, the gap between the EU average and Hungary further widened. The per capita amount at constant prices accounted for slightly more than half of the EU average in 2010, however, among countries having accessed since 2004, we are still spending relatively much on social protection. The social protection expenditures` largest component with a continuously increasing weight is the care for the elderly including pensions and pension-type benefits.
- The proportion of means-tested benefits within social protection benefits amounted to less than half of the EU average in 2010.
- Among the traditional basic social services, after a long period of time, the number of those receiving social catering and domestic care has been increasing again since 2008; in 2011 155 thousand people received social catering and 88 thousand were provided with domestic care. By 2011, despite its considerable fallback two decades ago, the latter has exceeded the level registered at the beginning of the 1990s. Between 2009 and 2011, the number of residents in long-term residential social institutions increased further; most of them live in homes for the aged.
- Among basic child welfare services, the number of children enrolled in infant nurseries rose further in 2011, the day-care centres also developed further, although their number is still insignificant. The recourse of child welfare services continuously rose along with the expansion of their duties. The number of endangered children (201 thousand) rose again in 2011, and the number of children taken into child protection continued to increase in line with the previous trend (29 thousand in 2011).
- The number of registered perpetrators was 100 thousand in 2012, 11% fewer than in the previous year and 18% fewer than two years earlier. This was at the same time the lowest level registered after the regime change. The number of registered crimes rose in the previous years and it was 472 thousand in 2012. In the growth primarily the increase of crimes against law and order having an increasing proportion in crimes played a major role. The number of misdemeanours having a milder judgement in criminal law but representing a higher proportion increased by some 12%, while that of offences decreased by 9.3% year-on-year. The number of imprisoned people (17,200) was stagnant in 2012 after an increase typical in the former years.
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