Standard Of Living
There were no significant differences in the standard of living between rural and urban families, or small and large families, or families with more highly educated parents and less well educated parents, until the end of the 1980s. Remuneration from paid work was essentially the same, but income was supplemented by benefits of various kinds. Family allowances were paid for all children until they attended school, prices of food were heavily subsidized, and education was free at all levels. Travel costs were also subsidized, rent for housing was reduced for families with children (the more children in a family, the greater the reduction), and there was income-tax relief for parents and state loans for young families on favorable terms. (The principal was written off by a certain amount at the birth of each additional child.) All of these measures helped families increase their income indirectly and, in this way, allowed for an appropriate standard level of living for all families regardless of their size.
After 1990 most of these benefits were phased out. The economic situation of the majority of Slovak families, especially the young ones, began to deteriorate. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, there is a high rate of unemployment (about 20%) and many families are living on social benefits. The reduction of income from paid work has led to higher involvement of family members in other activities around the home, particularly those focused on the production of food. This is more common in rural areas, where the unemployment rate is higher than in urban centers. Many fathers, particularly from less-developed regions, work in places distant from the family dwelling, and often abroad. Mothers usually stay at home and care for children as well as the household and garden. The father's absence and the mother's heavy workload result in the fact that children are often left on their own. The absence of fathers is also frequent in well-to-do families where fathers are so deeply involved in their business activity that there is no time for the children.
The gap between rich and poor families has increased. The financial situation of families is difficult, especially in the economically marginal regions of Slovakia. There are some families in which no family member has had a paid job in over two or three years—sometimes longer.
Marriage and Family EncyclopediaMarriage: Cultural AspectsSlovakia - Marriage, Selection Of Partners, Termination Of Marriage, Changes In The Family, Standard Of Living - Family Contacts and Relations