"Everything is more expensive today, "prices have increased tenfold" - we've all heard statements along those lines, but is it true?
According to data compiled by Statec spanning the years 2000-2019, prices have indeed gone up for a majority of products in the Grand Duchy.
Naturally, the baskets of goods that Statec keeps an eye on includes far from everything available on the market. As is customary, they have focused on products that are commonly bought by households across the country, such as bread, milk, eggs, coffee, sugar, and so on.
Prices that have doubled - or more
Bread is one of the products that have experienced a particularly noticeable price increase - from €1.1 in 2000, to €2.4 in 2019 (per 500g). The price of potatoes, meanwhile, has nearly tripled - from €3.6 to €9.1 for 5kg.
Other products that have seen a significant price increase over the last 19 years includes: croissants (per unit) have doubled, from €0.6 to €1.2; the price of pork ribs has gone from €6.3 to €11.4 per kilo; flour has increased from €0.8 to €1.2 per kg; butter has gone from €1.5 to €2.33 for 250g; apples have gone from €1.9 to €2.8 per kg; 250 of coffee has gone from €2.5 to €3.6; the price of a newspaper has increased from €0.7 to €2.2; cinema tickets have jumped from €6.2 to €9.2; and public transport tickets from €1 to €2.
The price of other products, including for instance bananas, sugar, sparkling water, and a dozen eggs have not seen such price increases - though neither have prices fallen (see below).
Consultation prices also on the up
Another notable increase is the price of consultations with a general practitioner but also with specialists (internal medicine).
In 2000, a consultation with your GP would set you back €20 - today the average is €46.1. The cost of seeing a specialist has also increased, from €20.1 to €43.5.
But how do these price increased relate to the overall standard of living?
Average income increase, but higher poverty risk
According to figures provided by Statec, the average total income per household has increased from 2003 to 2017 (latest figures available). Indeed, the average increased from €4,181 in 2003 to €5,880 in 2017.
Add to this the significant increase in the minimum social wage which has recently been increased to €2,089.75 gross per month for unskilled adults. For comparison: in 2006, it amounted to €1,541.
These are two indicators that, independently of other factors, seem to confirm that the standard of living has increased in Luxembourg. And yet, the risk of poverty rate has only increased in recent years. Indeed, in 2017, it reached 18.7% whereas in 2003, it was only 11.9%.
Among the decisive factors is obviously the explosion of real estate prices and, as we have seen above, the increase in the price of many current consumer goods.