All posts by jweinstein

The Hungarian Divide

Poverty in Hungary has become an increasingly large problem over the last several years, and there is a great rift in between rural life and urban life in Budapest, the capital of Hungary. Urbanization of Hungary has created an even larger divide between the rural areas and urban areas, as well as destroying the agricultural industry.

hungary graph Urbanization

This graph clearly shows the high percentage of Hungarian citizens living in cities rising over the last decade, having people migrate from rural areas to urban areas. This factor greatly contributes to the failing agriculture in Hungary, as the rural farmers are all migrating to cities because they are far too poor to maintain their land. As the urban population is rising, the rural population is in decline at a fairly high rate in the past decade.

hugary agriculture graph

As this graph shows, the population in rural areas has dropped almost 6% in the past decade, giving way to the gradual decline in agricultural production. This does not improve poverty rates in the country, as the poor farmers move to the city only to get stuck in the slums. The unemployment rate is a growing problem in Hungary as well, going hand in hand with the poverty rate, with many people requiring financial assistance. There are as many workplaces as there are workers in most rural areas outside of Budapest, with more people living off the benefits of assistance than people who actually hold jobs. The image below depicts how poor some of the rural farmers are; no electricity and no internet, keeping them walled of from the outside world. This man must use the water in his well in order to keep things cold, as he does not have a refrigerator.

poor man hungary

The rural citizens compared to the residents of Budapest have a completely different lifestyle and views, and Viktor Orban, the Prime Minister of Hungary, appeals to them much more than urban areas, truly showing the divide between the different lifestyles. Orban has a strong anti-immigrant policy that those in rural areas agree with, for many of them are older and lived through soviet union control and are terrified of culture change. The Urban populous tends to be younger and be pro-immigrant, however, Orban won his third election by a small margin in the past month. This urban-rural divide does not seem to have any immediate fixes and will take large efforts by the Hungarian government to bring change and unite the people, and fix the agricultural decline.