Country Listing

Romania Table of Contents



Although housing was a high priority, in the 1980s it remained inadequate in both supply and quality. The law allotted only twelve square meters of living space per person, and the average citizen had even less--about ten square meters. More than half a million workers lived in hostels; some had lived there for many years, even after they had married and had children. These hostels were known for their cramped and squalid conditions and for the heavy drinking and violence of their occupants. The lists of persons waiting for housing were long, and bribes of as much as 40,000 lei were necessary to shorten the wait.

Defying reality, the PCR leadership pronounced the housing problem "solved for the most part" and predicted its total elimination by 1990, an unlikely prospect in view of the fact that new housing construction during the Eighth Five-Year Plan (1986-90) had fallen far short of target. To achieve the official goal of fourteen square meters per person by the year 2000, it would have been necessary to complete an apartment every three minutes. Comecon-published statistics and even figures released by the Romanian government indicated that in fact there had been a sharp decline in the construction of new dwelling space.

Data as of July 1989