The UN says 25% of Iraqis are totally dependent on the food rations that most of the population receives.
These provide about 80% of recommended daily calorie intake in the form of wheat, rice and beans. No meat, vegetables or fruit are included.
Petrol is heavily subsidised, but periodic shortages since the 2003 war have meant long queues at times.
Prices have risen since the invasion, but wages are also up dramatically – although unemployment remains high.
Consumer goods have poured into Iraq, with car ownership reported to have doubled since 2003 and mobile phones and satellite television spreading rapidly.
However, in a 2004 UN survey, only 20% of households said they had any savings.