Vlada republike SrbijeGovernment of the Republic of Serbia

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Measuring Social Exclusion and Poverty in Serbia

Absolute and relative poverty lines are used for the purposes of measuring poverty in the Republic of Serbia.

History of Poverty Measurement in Serbia

Serbia first obtained poverty data according to an internationally recognised methodology in 2002. The process of collecting statistical data on poverty was launched by conducting the Living Standards Measurement Survey (LSMS) on an annual basis in 2002 and 2003, at the request of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and with technical assistance provided by the World Bank. These data served as the basis for developing the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper. The Living Standards Measurement Survey was last conducted in 2007 with support from the World Bank and will not be conducted in Serbia in future.

The strategic decision, taken in 2004, to use the Household Budget Survey (HBS) data as the basis for poverty statistics in Serbia was aimed at ensuring full national ownership and continuity in monitoring poverty data.

In 2004 and 2005, a shift was made from the Living Standards Measurement Survey (LSMS) to the Household Budget Survey (HBS) as the poverty measurement tool. However, the Household Budget Survey data for 2004 and 2005 are insufficiently grounded in methodology; the data for these two years are, therefore, not published.

To enable monitoring trends from 2006 onwards, the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia has accepted the World Bank recommendation to use the consumer price index (CPI) in setting the absolute poverty line. The absolute poverty line was set in 2006 by calculating a food basket; for each subsequent year, it is adjusted for inflation (consumer price index).

In 2014, the Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) data also became available in Serbia, which constitutes a significant improvement in living standard statistics and, for the first time, facilitates full data comparability between the Republic of Serbia and EU Member States. The Survey on Income and Living Conditions is among regular statistical surveys conducted in the country.

Sources for Poverty Measurement in Serbia

The Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) enables full data comparability between the Republic of Serbia and EU Member States. In the interest of thorough understanding of the status of the most vulnerable population, the Household Budget Survey (HBS) and Labour Force Survey (LFS) are also used, as well as vital statistics and educational statistics data, collected by the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, health statistics collected by the Dr Milan Jovanović Batut Institute for Public Health of Serbia, administrative data of the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs, etc.

The living conditions indicators for vulnerable groups (the Roma, persons with disabilities, refugees and internally displaced persons, etc.) are still missing, given that the aforementioned surveys do not lend themselves to drawing conclusions about these groups with a sufficient degree of reliability owing to their methodological limitations. It should be noted that European statistics also faces the same limitation and that surveys designed specifically for that purpose are used instead.

The Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia will continually report on the relative poverty indicators based on SILC data.  However, it should be highlighted that the SORS has not reported on the state of absolute poverty in the country since 2010.  In order to monitor the profile of the most disadvantaged population in the country, and in response to absence of official data, the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit has conducted an independent study into absolute poverty based on HBS data for the period 2011–2013.

Useful links to data sources for measuring the state of social exclusion:

For more information on measuring social exclusion and poverty in Serbia, see:

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Mapping Social Care Services and Material Support within the Mandate of Local Governments in the Republic of Serbia
September, 2020 arrow right pdf [8 MB]
Income of the Poorest Deciles of Serbia’s Population, Focus on Agricultural Activities
July, 2020 arrow right pdf [2 MB]
E2E: Public Policy Testing – Innovative Approaches to Youth Employment
April, 2020 arrow right pdf [1 MB]
E2E: Public Policy Testing – Innovative Approaches to Youth Employment (leaflet)
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Availability of Local Support Services and Measures for Roma Children
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E2E: Ex-post Evaluation of the Open Call “Supporting Innovative Approaches to tackle Youth Employment and Employability” (2018–2019) – Summary
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National Employment Action Plan for 2020
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