An earthquake in 1988 killed 25,000 Armenians and left 400,000 homeless, ie. 1/8 of the residents. In the early 1990s, hundreds of thousands of refugees came from the Armenian-dominated region of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan, and the war that followed between Armenia and Azerbaijan led to a sharp decline in the Armenian economy, resulting in increased poverty and malnutrition. Between 1992 and 1997, 600,000 emigrated, and emigration has continued even after that. In 2010, at least 4 million Armenians were estimated to live abroad, most of them in the Russian Federation and the United States. During the 1990s, conditions were stabilized and economic growth increased. Social conditions improved significantly, especially in the cities. The proportion of extremely poor people fell from 15.5 percent in the entire country in 1996 to 3.7 percent in 2007.
The large emigration since independence has made cities grow very slowly, and there has improved housing and service conditions. However, the countryside is slipping by the level of living. Money that emigrated Armenians send to their families is of great importance in the families’ finances. During the global economic crisis of 2008-09, these cash flows drastically decreased and poverty increased in the country. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of ARM and acronym for Armenia.
From Soviet times, Armenia inherited specialist and hospital-focused healthcare, free of charge but centralized to the capital and infiltrated by corruption. The country has received extensive development assistance from the United States and from humanitarian organizations. Thus, it has been possible to focus healthcare on decentralized primary care and preventive measures, and the state of health improved significantly during the 1990s. Since the 1990s, there is also private healthcare. In 2006, there were 37 doctors and 44 beds per 10,000 residents in the country. At all births there are qualified healthcare personnel.
In 2008, about 95 percent of the population had access to clean water and 88 percent had good sanitary conditions.
The retirement age has been raised for women and in 2011 it was 63 years for both men and women. Old-age pensions and other benefits in social insurance have increased significantly since the mid-1990s, from a previously very low level.
In 2007-08, unemployment was estimated to be just over 7 percent, but it rose significantly in 2009. However, the scope is difficult to estimate, as many work in a ※gray§ informal sector.