There are between 350 - 500,000 Jews living in Ukraine, in a population of 46 million, making it the third largest community in Europe and the fifth in the world. Officially, 40% of the Ukrainian population are considered to be pensioners. The majority of pensioners are barely subsisting on their government pension and require outside assistance to reach even a basic level of acceptable living. Many live in damp, dilapidated apartments in buildings with broken lifts and crumbling flights of stairs. Children, as with the elderly, are a particularly vulnerable group in the Ukraine. Many children from low-income families survive on poor diets with little or no access to primary health care.
Ukraine’s dependence on Russia for its energy supplies makes it highly vulnerable to external shocks. Also due to an ageing infrastructure and poor transportation, living standards remain low. Ukraine suffered badly from the global financial crisis, significantly reducing economic growth.
Male life expectancy stands at 62 years (with females at 75 years), unemployment levels are increasing, at 8.8% in 2009 and inflation high at 12.3%, the latter affecting elderly Jews the most as costs of their daily necessities rise.
The high number of vulnerable Jewish and non-Jewish people has led World Jewish Relief to support 24 projects in the Ukraine alone this year.
Population = 45,415,596
Jewish population = 350-500,000
Life expectancy at birth = 68 years
Population below poverty line = 35%
Unemployment rate = 8.4%
GDP per capita = $6,700
Inflation rate = 9.8%