The low-level security that existed during the Soviet era waned away after independence. The standard of living is still low and the health situation is serious.
All kinds of social grants and subsidies were abolished or eroded during the economic crisis of the 1990s, when household savings went up in smoke. Large groups got worse. Growth in the early 2000s led to a clear improvement for the majority, but wars and new financial difficulties have made the situation tough again. The World Bank wrote in 2019 that it would take 50 years for Ukraine, with the growth that existed then, to reach Poland’s income levels.
- Countryaah Official Site: Official statistics for population in Ukraine, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
A large part of the population lives in poverty. According to domestic criteria, approximately one in four residents are poor, but with other calculation bases the figure is considerably higher. Only about a tenth of the population is considered middle class.
The Romans are a particularly vulnerable group. About two-thirds of adult Roma cannot read and write, and among the Roma in western Ukraine, about 15 percent have tuberculosis.
Ukraine has plenty of hospitals and other healthcare facilities and has more sickness beds in relation to the population than most Western European countries, but the standard of care is low. Hygiene is often poor and there is a great lack of medicines and other equipment. Health care is basically free of charge, but some expensive treatments now have to be paid by the patient. Often, bribes are also needed for healthcare professionals and doctors. Mortality is high not only for one country in Europe, but also globally.
Poverty and social insecurity have greatly deteriorated public health. Diseases such as diphtheria and cholera have increased. Tuberculosis (TB) is also a major problem. There are about half a million known TB cases, but the number of infected can be twice as large. Ukraine is also the country in Europe that has the most cases of HIV. According to the UN agency Unaids, almost a quarter of Ukrainians carry HIV.
Ukraine has, for a number of years, had one of the lowest rates of vaccination in the world. Few are vaccinated against diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus. Behind the low rate of vaccination, not only is the country’s economic problem but also a widespread distrust of vaccines. When conflict erupted in eastern Ukraine in 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned of an emergency health care crisis. There was a large shortage of medicines and the country had no supply of vaccines.
In 2015, two cases of polio were detected in southwestern Ukraine. Two young children had been paralyzed. The proportion of vaccinated children had decreased steadily in connection with the country’s economic crisis. In 2014, not even half of the children were vaccinated. Ukraine received UN assistance in combating the outbreak and implementing a comprehensive vaccination program.
Measles has also been spread, as a relatively small proportion of the population has been vaccinated. In 2018, more than 50,000 of Europe’s nearly 83,000 registered cases occurred in Ukraine, and 16 of 72 known deaths. This happened despite the fact that vaccination campaigns with the support of UN organizations had been carried out, especially the year before.
An increased number of malformations, cancer cases and diseases of the respiratory tract and stomach have been linked by radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986, but according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) it can only be proved that the cases of thyroid cancer in children.
Alcohol abuse is widespread and contributes to low life expectancy among men. Problems with drugs have started to grow in some cities in the south.
Trafficking in women who are attracted or forced to prostitute in Western countries is also a major problem. The International Migration Organization (IOM) estimates that more than 160,000 Ukrainians have been victims of human trafficking since independence. The problem has increased following the outbreak of the war in 2014, which has also led to many being forced to leave their homes. UN organizations have since estimated that there are more than 1.5 million internal refugees in Ukraine.
Surrogate maternity allowance is allowed in Ukraine. Clinics in Ukraine market specifically to childless couples in other countries where it is forbidden.
FACTS – SOCIAL CONDITIONS
Infant Mortality: 8 per 1000 births (2018)
Percentage of HIV infected: 1.0 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young women
0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young men: 0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean water: 97.7 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to toilets: 96.2 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a percentage of GDP: 6.1 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person: US $ 141 (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament: 12 percent (2018)
New electoral law is expected to benefit the government
A new electoral law is enacted according to which 225 of the members of parliament will be elected from party lists according to a proportional distribution and the rest 225 in direct elections in one-man constituencies (see further Political system). The legislative amendment is expected to benefit the ruling Party of Regions and strengthen President Yanukovych’s opportunities to be re-elected in 2015.
Tymoshenko is sentenced to prison
Tymoshenko is sentenced to seven years in prison, three years of operating bans and damages to the state’s energy companies, equivalent to SEK 1.3 billion. The verdict concerns abuse of power. Tymoshenko swears innocent and responds despite the verdict. Amnesty International condemns the trial as politically motivated. Shortly after the verdict, several new charges are filed against Tymoshenko, for embezzlement, tax breaks, theft and violations of the currency regulations in the 1990s. Just before New Year, she is moved from a detention center in Kiev to a prison camp in the Kharkiv region of eastern Ukraine.
The EU threatens Ukraine
The EU criticizes the trial of Tymoshenko and warns that the Union’s cooperation agreement with Ukraine is in danger.
Tymoshenko is arrested
A lawsuit against Tymoshenko that began in July continues and the court decides to arrest her, formally for court-martialed by mocking the judge on Twitter. Tymoshenko’s supporters claim that President Yanukovych is behind, and they are pitching tents outside the court. After a short time in detention, Tymoshenko’s health is reported to have suddenly deteriorated. She is said to have had bruises all over her body and it is speculated that she was poisoned, such as Viktor Yushchenko in 2004.
The retirement age is being raised
Parliament approves a contentious pension reform, which involves, among other things, a gradual raising of the retirement age for women from 55 to 60 years; The reform has been met by angry popular protests, but it is a condition for getting delayed $ 15 billion loans from the IMF.
Ex-president is suspected of journalist murder
A judicial inquiry is being launched against former President Kuchma for involvement in the murder of journalist Gongadze 2000. According to prosecutors, Kuchma is suspected of abuse of power and of having ordered the brutal murder. The Prosecutor General’s Office announced in September 2010 that Gongadze was murdered on the orders of the then Interior Minister Yury Kravchenko, who himself died in 2005. July 2009). However, the murder investigation against Kuchma is closed at the end of the year, when the judge says that a tape recording that was said to show the ex-president’s involvement cannot be used as evidence because the lawyers gained access to the tape in an “illegal way”.