The Greek crisis is messy and complicated, filled with nebulous terms being casually tossed around. Most every story has obligatory mentions of “austerity,” “bailouts” and “capital controls,” but it can be difficult to determine what, precisely, all that jargon means.
So let’s stick to the numbers. Here’s a primer on some of the most important ones in the unfolding Greek drama:
2009: The year the crisis began. As the entire global economy reeled, Greece announced it had been understating its budget deficits for years. This upset its European partners, though at the time, it seemed like just one more financial problem among many. But more than five years and two bailouts later, Greece’s economic problems are more dire today than when this all began.
25: The percentage by which the Greek economy has contracted over the past five years. It’s an extraordinary figure for a country at peace, comparable to the U.S. Great Depression in the early 1930s.
25 (again): The Greek unemployment rate, in percent. That may actually understate the problem. The country’s critics say far too many workers are on the government payroll and should be let go. And the unemployment rate for those under 25 is staggering — it has been around 50 percent for several years now.
92: The actual income earned by a typical Greek citizen is 92 percent higher than the income reported to the government, according to a 2012 study. Tax evasion is endemic in Greece and a major contributor to the government’s budget shortfalls. Creditors are demanding this be addressed in return for a new rescue package.
60: The maximum number of euros that Greeks can withdraw from their bank accounts each day. That works out to about $66. However, ATMs are starting to run out of cash and the banks have now been closed for more than a week. It’s still not clear when they will reopen, and even more importantly, whether Greeks will respond by making a run on the banks and withdrawing all of their money immediately.
240 billion: The euros that international lenders have provided to Greece in recent years as part of the bailouts (around $264 billion at the current exchange rates). That’s a lot for a country of just 11 million people. But Greeks say much of the bailout money has simply gone to pay off earlier lenders and has not been used to rebuild the Greek economy. Hence the term “extend and pretend,” that’s often used to describe the process.
2: Percent of economic output that Greece contributes to the 19-country eurozone. Some European leaders and economists say that because Greece’s economy is small and the troubles have dragged on for so long, the country’s problems are unlikely to cause a broader contagion in Europe or beyond.
81: Percent of Greeks who say they want to remain in the eurozone, according to one recent poll. This may sound contradictory given Greece’s vote in Sunday’s referendum, where it rejected the terms proposed by its creditors. However, many Greeks say they want to keep close links to Europe but are tired of deals that inflict pain without leading to a solution. Critics say this shows Greece’s desire to have it both ways — it wants large sums of aid from Europe and other lenders without meeting the same standards of others in the eurozone.