Albania's poverty reduced, study shows

The study, conducted by the Albanian Institute of Statistics and the World Bank, showed that absolute poverty had fallen from 25 percent in 2002 to 18.5 percent in 2005.

That meant that roughly 235,000 of Albania's 800,000 impoverished had been lifted above the poverty line, which was defined in the study as having a monthly income below US$53 by 2002 prices, or US$57 by 2005 prices.

The extremely poor - defined as those with difficulty meeting basic nutritional needs -decreased from about 5 percent to 3.5 percent, the study said.

Poverty remains, however, largely in rural populations, which accounted for two-thirds of the country's poor in 2002, and three-fourths in 2005.

Worst off were people in mountain areas, the study said, but added that the gap in wealth between that group and the rest of the country had declined dramatically, the AP reports.

The study recommended that Albania stay on its reform path, which it said had brought sustained economic growth, improvement in the investment climate, better governance and social services and expanding infrastructure.