New school year emotionally and financially difficult for poorer families

Almost a third, or 32%, of Latvian households will face financial strain with the start of the new school year, according to a survey conducted by research agency Norstat in July 2023, with the participation of 510 Latvian residents aged between 25 and 65. The survey was commissioned by the Akropole shopping mall.

According to the survey, almost a quarter, or 23%, of respondents say that not being able to reconcile their child's wishes with their family budget will be one of their biggest challenges. The same number of respondents say that lack of time to buy everything they need will be an equal challenge. As another challenge 14% of the Latvian population point to the difference in taste between parents and children, while the same number of respondents point to limitations in the range or accessibility of goods due to their location. Less than a tenth, or 9%, say that the inability to combine the demands of school with household budgets will be a challenge this year.

“The coming school year invariably generates both positive and negative emotions among parents and pupils. For some it brings more joy, for others more worry and anxiety. According to the data, families with limited financial means find this time more emotionally difficult. This is not only due to financial pressure, but also emotional pressure, as decisions have to be made rationally, weighing options rather than children's wishes," said Linda Ezera, Head of Norstat Latvia.

More than half (53%) of the respondents plan to buy more often with discounts or promotions, while a third (33%) plan to reuse items from previous school years. Some (16%) also plan to skip buying certain items or choose cheaper alternatives.

“Changes in shopping habits in response to price rises are enabling a large part of the population to buy the goods they need for the start of school. However, this approach will be more difficult for the most vulnerable in society, i.e. low-income Latvian families who face various financial challenges on a daily basis. Given the economic pressures, preparing for the new school season will be particularly difficult, so this year's support for pupils from low-income families will be especially needed and appreciated,” said Valdis Portnajs, Manager of Akropole Rīga.

The Akropole shopping malls are again organizing their annual charity campaign “Let's help prepare for school together”, together with the charity organization and other partners which invites people to donate new clothes, shoes, stationery and other items useful for school to children from low-income families and Ukrainian families who have taken refuge in Latvia. Last year, the campaign raised EUR 5,000 and helped dozens of Latvian pupils and Ukrainian refugee families prepare for the new school year.

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