Family Budget Survey… Dismal Picture of Economic Troubles [Archives:1999/14/Front Page]

April 5 1999

The results of the third annual family budget survey released last month by the Central Statistical Organization offers a detailed picture of the economic hardships in the Republic of Yemen. 
“The monthly expenditure per capita was YR 4,866 (=US$ 32.44) in urban areas, and YR 3,572 (=US$ 23.81) in rural areas, yielding a national average of YR 3,865 (=US$ 25.77),” the report states. 
That is less than a dollar a day. 
Most of the money goes to buy food – an average of 65% of the total. Even then, it is not enough to ensure adequate nutrition. For example, the per capita meat intake is 690 grams per month. 
The survey, based on 15,120 random samples covered many parts of Yemen. It was taken during July-September 1998. 
One of the major differences between the spending patterns of urban and rural families is the distribution. In urban centers, expenditures on food take up 35% of total family expenses, while in rural areas, the expenditures on food represent 69%, yielding a national average of 65%. 
While food is the largest expenditure item, lodging expenses take up second place. For urban dwellers, rent claim an average of 32.88% of total expenditures, but the national average for housing expenditures is only 6.0%. 
The third largest expenditure item is energy consumption – fuel, electricity, etc. This represents 5.6%, while transportation and communication make up 4.3%. 
Durable household goods accounted for less than one percent – 0.76%. 
We have seen that the largest expenditure item is food, representing some 65% of the total budget on a nation-wide average. 
Of this 65%, basic bread (flour) takes a whopping 24.2%, as Yemeni individuals consume an average of 17.76 kilograms per month of various forms of bread. Qat and cigarette expenses occupy second place, claiming 17.3% of the budget. Meat costs claim 11.3%, while expenditures on water make up 1.3%. 
One last comment on the results of the survey. The total household expenditure of YR 28,138 per family per month was less than the average income of YR 27,372. This means a negative savings rate for the Republic, made up by inflows from the rest of the world. This is made up through foreign aid and private transfers.