Living in Ukraine.

How Ukrainians
earn and spend their money.

What is life like for people living in Ukraine? The Ukrainian family budget is difficult to capture in official statistics since it operates on data about primary income. Meanwhile the cost of living in Ukraine forces most adults to look for alternative income sources; a second job, cultivation of land, using privately owned cars as taxis, selling edible and consumer goods.

In most cases these secondary incomes are received in cash because cash is the most popular form of currency in Ukraine and is practically the only kind of transactions in stores.

As a result, Ukraine has an area of unofficial “gray” economics along with the official economic statistics. These two economies produce a situation where it is impossible to know the sources and amount of income of many Ukrainian households. For now official statistics state that expenditures of the Ukraine population are considerably larger than recognized income.

Here is a short review of the State Statistics Committee of Ukraine based on survey data taken during the first quarter of 2008. Due to the double nature of the Ukraine economics mentioned above, it must be understood that these official data have some significant errors and cannot be applied directly in order to truly understand the economic situation in Ukraine. Nevertheless it will give you a clear idea of what life is like for people living in Ukraine and how they spend their money.

  • Average income for one working family member is 936 Ukrainian Hryvnia(UAH) United States Dollars(USD) 185 per month. The official poverty level is recognized as 592 UAH / USD 117.
  • 25% of the population, of which 20% are in the cities and 37% in the rural villages had incomes below the official poverty level.
  • Average expenses for one family member are 922 UAH per month. 88% of this sum are spent for consuming goods (50% for food, 35% for utilities and nonfood products, 1.5% for alcohol and 0.8% for tobacco).
  • 12% of income is spent on real estate, stocks, construction and repair of homes, and making bank deposits.
  • An average person spent 15.3 UAH / USD 3.02 per day for buying food.
  • The average monthly house payment together with utilities was 9% of income or 209 UAH / USD 41 per month.

Living in Ukraine.
City of Dnepropetrovsk. Opera Theater.

It was an official statistics. To help aid you, here is a real life example taken from the everyday life experiences of an average family living in a big city in Ukraine. This family is really an average one, their income is not below the official standard of living poverty level, but at the same time their living conditions are not the best and quite typical for Ukrainian families. Information presented below about this family will give you a better idea about the life of people living in Ukraine. Let me introduce them.

  • The family has lived in the same apartment since 1972. They originally were given this apartment from the Soviet government. At the time, very few families were able to actually afford an apartment and the government simply had to provide housing for the rest of the population, though many families still had to wait 20 to 25 years before being helped.Their monthly payments are about 500 UAH/ USD 94 per month in the winter and 300 UAH/USD 57 in the summer season. When they first purchased the apartment the total living space was listed as 44.5 sq.m / 479 sq.ft. . Then for some mysterious reason many years later according to the bills they receive for their house payment, its area has been increased to 59.5 sq. m / 640 sq.ft. Perhaps balconies are considered as a living space nowadays. :(
  • There are five family members living in this apartment; an 80-year old grandmother who owns the apartment, her 60-year old daughter and her husband, their 33-year old daughter and her 16-year old son.
  • All four adult family members have earned Masters degrees after graduating from universities. All of them except the older lady are still working in their professional fields. (Note: a pension age in Ukraine is 55 (for women) and 60 (for men).
  • The older lady and her daughter already are receiving their pensions. The youngest family member, the 16-year old boy is going to enter university next year.
  • Besides the apartment they own a tiny summer house (dacha in Russian) in the village where they grow fruits and vegetables. Like most Ukrainian families they do a lot of canning of their own food.
  • The family owns an older car in order to drive to their dacha.
  • These things are all of their possessions.

I have personally known this family for many years. They are extremely friendly and hospitable people and the warm and inviting atmosphere of their house always attracts their numerous friends. But facts are facts and there are four generations living in that apartment.

They cannot afford to buy another apartment or a house. Even if they could manage to do it, they would be faced with other additional expenses. For example, if the older lady we talked about were to live alone, she would not be able to make house payments and to buy food, because her pension is not big enough to pay for both.

Now you should have an idea about what an average family living in Ukraine can afford for itself.


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Historical Pages about Ukraine.

Every year more than 15 million travelers come to Ukraine . What do they expect to see there?

Ukraine has accumulated a lot of unique cultural and historical treasures through the several thousand years of its history.