Non-agricultural Sources of Income for Families in the Countryside and the Gray Economy

  • Barbara Chmielewska The Institute of Agricultural and Food Economics - National Research Institute
Keywords: non-agricultural earning; gray economy (informal economy); agritourism


For many years, the budget of the rural family, also these including the agricultural farm, has been diversifying sources of income. The percentage of farms receiving income from non-agricultural sources, especially from agritourism, is increasing. At the same time, a high increase of the employment in informal economy (gray economy) is recorded in rural areas, mainly in tourism and gastronomic services, as well as housework (cleaning). The majority of those working in the gray economy treat this work as an additional one, but for many people it is the only source of income. In the opinion of the Central Statistical Office, there were 711 thousand persons in 2014 in the gray economy (the share of employees in the gray economy in the total number of employed persons was 14.5%). The Central Statistical Office’s research indicated: insufficient income and no possibility of finding a legal job as the main reason for taking up work in gray economy. Basic changes in the number and percentage of employees in the gray economy took place after 2004, which could have been related to Poland’s accession to the European Union, and from 2008 to the Schengen area.


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