Over the covered decade, Georgia experienced economic improvements in various areas. For instance, between 2013 and 2022, the country's GDP per capita increased by 44%, reaching US$6,672.
In addition, the share of the population living in absolute poverty decreased from 26.2% to 15.6% during the same period while the unemployment rate dropped from 26.4% to 17.3%.
Despite these positive trends, public opinion polls indicate that poverty and related issues such as unemployment and low salaries remain significant challenges for Georgian society.
In the past decade, the main income sources for the lowest-income segment (quintile I) were pensions, scholarships, and assistance, with a relatively low share from employment. The proportion of income from pensions, scholarships, and assistance increased over the covered period from 47% in 2013 to 56% in 2022, while the share from employment decreased from 15% to 10%.
In the highest-income segment (quintile V), employment was the primary source of income, while pensions, scholarships, and assistance made a smaller contribution.
Over the covered ten-year period, the share of income for this quintile from employment increased from 50% to 56%, while the share of pensions, scholarships, and assistance rose too (from 5% to 9%).
With regard to the income sources for quintiles I, III, and V a correlation was shown between a higher share of income from employment and higher income levels as a whole, while a higher share from pensions, scholarships, and assistance was associated with lower income. Over the last decade, quantile I sdbecame increasingly reliant on government assistance.
Historically, urban areas have had higher income levels compared to rural areas, but more recently there has been a gradual reduction in the urban-rural income gap. Indeed, in 2022, rural areas even surpassed urban areas in terms of nominal median household income. This shift may be attributed to the increasing prevalence of employment as a source of income within rural households.
From 2013 to 2019 household median nominal income was 1.3 higher in urban areas compared to rural. However, from 2020 onward there is a tendency for convergency, and in 2022 rural areas exceeded urban.
Over the last decade, in rural areas nominal median household income has increased by 101%, and in urban areas by 56%. Meanwhile, the analysis of household median income adjusted for inflation indicates that, from 2013 to 2022, the increase in real median household income in urban areas was only 3%, whereas in rural areas it was 30%.
Over the past decade in urban areas, the primary income sources during this period were employment, and pensions, scholarships, and assistance. The combined share of these two categories increased from 66% in 2013 to 79% in 2022, indicating a growing reliance on these sources (in particular, the share from employment increased from 56% to 62% during the last decade).
In rural areas, income sources appear to be more diversified compared to urban areas. However, the share of employment as an income source notably increased by 10 percentage points over the past decade, reaching 34% over the last decade.
This significant increase in the share of employment as an income source may have contributed to the significant rise in household income observed in rural areas.