Survey: Latvians would need €1,466 a month for a "normal life"

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In a survey carried out with about 1,000 Latvian residents this summer, it has been discovered that people here feel they need an average of €1,466 a month to lead a normal life.

Among similar surveys, this one by the SKDS pollster found that Latvians' perceived requirements for a good life are at the highest level ever. Just 20 years ago, people would have been satisfied with the equivalent of €500, while in 2008 the sum was a little above €1,000.

"If we take a cold look at the cost of living and inflation, it seems that the official statistics too say that life is getting more and more expensive, that prices have a trend of growing. And now, what I think about as a resident of Rīga, is that waste management will become more expensive. And that's a reason why you simply need more money to maintain the same quality of life, the same consumption," he said.

But there's a discrepancy between inflation data and what people think they need for a normal life. People's appetite for money is growing at a faster rate than the rate in which money loses value. But then the meaning of what's a "normal life" is very subjective, said Kaktiņš.

"Some say, I am warm and not starving and that's all I need. But for others a normal life means that I have to have the new iPhone the next week after its release," he said.

Latvian Radio met some people at the Rīga Central Market, and they were more modest. One woman said that working people need around €1,000 a month, while pensioners should have at least €500 a month.

Kaktiņš said that everyone deserves a normal life, even though the understanding of what constitutes one differs from person to person. He also said that as the official data are different from what people want, and as wages are growing only in select categories, there's potential for tensions to arise within society.

"I can foresee that social pressures are bound to grow over this matter, i.e. wages and income," he said.

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