As in neighboring Armenia and Georgia, living standards dropped sharply from the beginning of the 1990s, following the collapse of the Soviet economy and the transition to a market economy. The situation worsened when the war with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh brought about 1 million homeless refugees. In 2002, the World Bank estimated that almost half the population lived below the poverty line. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of AZE and acronym for Azerbaijan.
Oil revenues began to increase around 2000, and economic growth was particularly strong in 2006-07. More funds were allocated to health care and education, and the salaries of government employees were increased. The country received loans from the International Monetary Fund to combat poverty, and many families received financial support from emigrated or guest-working relatives. It gained great importance in the countryside, but the influx thereof declined sharply during the global economic crisis. In 2009, 11 percent of the population lived below the poverty line. Poverty is most common in remote rural areas and among the refugees. Malnutrition was estimated to be just as common. It is found especially in the poor part of the urban population.
When the country became independent, there was a Soviet-model healthcare, centralized and with specialist functions but ineffective and corrupt. Since then, primary care has been expanded and the state of health has improved. In 2008, there were 36 doctors per 10,000 residents. Qualified help was found at 88 percent of deliveries in 2006.
Approximately 80 percent of the residents had access to clean water in 2008, while a significantly lower proportion had expanded sanitary facilities; 85 percent in the cities but only 30 percent in the countryside.
In 2010, the World Bank estimated unemployment in the country at 9 percent. Underemployment is common and many work in a “gray” informal sector. A large part of the industrial employees are unionized. The retirement age is now 63 years for men and 60 years for women. Social insurance with retirement, disability and survivor’s pension should cover everyone and guarantee a basic standard of living.
Azerbaijan – Baku
Baku, capital of Azerbaijan; 1. 2 million residents (2015). Baku has a protected location on the Caspian Sea, on the southern side of the Apsjeron Peninsula. The city is an administrative center and a trade and communication center. The city’s historic center was listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2000.
The modern significance of the city is based on the oil deposits already known in Late Antiquity, which began to be mined in 1871, from 1875 not least by the brothers Robert and Ludvig Nobel. Around 1900, Baku accounted for 50% of world oil production, and oil still forms the basis for the chemical industry and the engineering industry associated with oil extraction. Other industrial activities include metalworking and the manufacture of building materials, consumer goods and food. Baku is also a cultural center and seat of the Academy of Sciences and has a university (founded in 1919).
Baku is known since the 400s AD. The city was Persian 1509–1723, was Russian for twelve years, became Persian again in 1735 and then incorporated with Russia in 1806. Baku became the capital of Azerbaijan in 1920. After 1945, Baku underwent rapid expansion by moving in from the countryside. At the time of the Azerbaijan popular front in 1989–90, extensive political unrest broke out in Baku, partly between Azerbaijanis and Armenians, and partly between Azerbaijanis and representatives of the Soviet central power.