Over 17.5 million people in Turkey live in need of social assistance

While the number of households benefiting from social assistance in Turkey increased from 3.4 million in 2018 to 4.4 million households by 2023, 17.6 million people live in need of social assistance.

A woman hold a banner that reads, "Attention, poverty is deepening."

Duvar English

Some 17.6 million people live in need of social assistance in Turkey,. according to the data revealed during the discussions on the 2024 budget of the Family and Social Services Ministry at the Parliament.

According to the data boastfully announced by Minister Mahinur Özdemir Göktaş, 4.4 million households benefited from social assistance in 2023 while 3.5 million of them received regular assistance, as reported in the daily BirGün.

In 2018, when Turkey switched to a presidential system, 3.5 million households were benefiting from social assistance.

In 2023, the number of children whose families cannot meet even their most basic needs reached 164,000. Comparatively, this figure was 130,000 in 2020, 141,000 in 2021, and 155,000 in 2022.

The ministry also spent 91.6 billion Turkish liras ($3.2 billion) in 2023 "to fight poverty.” While this expenditure was 62.7 billion liras in 2022, about 205.9 billion liras are expected to be spent in 2024.

The assistance provided by the Ministry is distributed in areas such as monthly aid for those below the extreme poverty line, disability and elderly allowances, aid for women whose husbands have died, and aid for education.

For example, wile households with a monthly per capita income of 450 liras or less receive 1,250 liras per month, a household of four receives 125 kWh (187.71 TL) of electricity assistance per month. Widows receive 500 liras monthly whereas 2,350 monthly payment is made to the elderly over 65 in need of assistance.

Turkey’s poverty threshold reached 44,718 Turkish liras ($1,559) in October and hit roughly four times the minimum wage (11,402 liras, $397) data from the United Metal-İş Research Center (BİSAM) revealed. The hunger threshold was 12,928 liras ($450).