Macedonia is the poorest of the former Yugoslav Republics. One fifth of its population is living in destitute poverty, and are unable to meet their basic needs. The majority of the poor include unemployed adults, and children.
Insufficient investment in education has produced a situation where only 33 percent of children in Macedonia attend high school. Approximately one third of all youth in Macedonia between the ages of 15 and 19 are completely excluded from education and prospects for viable employment.
Food security and poor nutrition are not direct development issues in the country, but rural households are extremely vulnerable to external economic crises.
Modest economic growth in the past few years has not been accompanied by improved living standards for the entire population. Macedonian Muslims, who make up thirty percent of the population, suffer under the poor living conditions that affect all in their country.