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Mexico: 10 years of the fight against poverty
School in a rural community in Oaxaca – Photo: Iván Stephens/EL UNIVERSAL

Mexico: 10 years of the fight against poverty

07/08/2019
17:15
Teresa Moreno
Mexico City
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From 2008 to 2018, the figures for poverty have remained stagnant: 54.4 million people are living in poverty and extreme poverty in Mexico

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During the last 10 years, 3 million Mexicans have emerged from extreme poverty, and 5.9 million entered moderate poverty, revealed the National Council for Evaluation of Social Development Policy (CONEVAL).

Academic advisors and the executive secretary of the agency considered that the figures for poverty have remained stagnant. Figures of the CONEVAL detail that there are 52.4 million people living in poverty and extreme poverty.

People living in poverty went from 49.5 to 52.4 million between 2008 and 2018. In index terms, this means that 4 out of every 10 Mexicans (41.9%) are in that sector. In 2008, they were 44.4%, mentioned the report “Ten years of measure of multidimensional poverty in Mexico, advances and challenges” presented on Monday by CONEVAL.

The executive secretary of the council, José Nabor Cruz, revealed that people in extreme poverty situation went from 12.3 to 9.3 million between 2008 and 2018, which represents a setback from 11% to 7.4% of the total of the population of the country.

In the case of moderate poverty in the country, it went from 37.2 to 43.1 million people, that is, there are 5.9 million new moderate poor people.

“The lack of social security and food, which are the most related ones, have also changed very little. It’s the other four deprivations that show a reduction that has a lot to do with the efforts the Mexican State has done,” said Fernando Cortés, advisor of the CONEVAL.

“In most of the variables, there seems to be a tendency to stagnation. Although there are reductions in some of the deprivations, like healthcare coverage or educational lagging, in the others we have an important stagnation,” said Nabor Cruz.

 

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Academic advisers warned that there was a demographic transition in that period due to the increase of the total of the population from 111 million to 125 million people.

Nabor Cruz explains that the variables in the socio-economic sphere that can influence the reduction or not of poverty go beyond social programs, since they weigh on the growth, investment, and formal employment, among others.

In the country, 57.7% of the population does not have access to social security; in 2008 there were 72.5 million people who had this deprivation, versus 71.7 million in 2018.

There are 61.1 million citizens whose incomes are insufficient to acquire the basic food basket and basic services for their families, in comparison to the 54.7 million reported in 2008.

In the topic of poverty and social gaps, in 2018, those who are part of the tenth decile of the population reported incomes 26 times bigger than the population of the first, who are the poorest.

“There is another Mexico in terms of the poverty of the indigenous and not indigenous population. For 2018, 74.9% of this sector was in poverty situation, compared to 39.4% of the not indigenous population,” added Nabor Cruz.

From 2008 to 2018, educational lagging went from 21.9% to 16.9%; the lack of access to healthcare went from 38.4% to 16.2%; the access to social security from 65% to 57.3%; the living quality and spaces from 17.7% to 11.1%; basic housing services from 22.9% to 19.8%, and access to food, from 21.7% to 20.4%.

Oaxaca, Chiapas, Veracruz, and Guerrero have more than 60% of their population living in moderate or extreme poverty situations.

“The major challenge is still in the southeast of the country, were are the entities with higher percentage of population in poverty situation from 2008 to 2018: Chiapas (77% to 76.4%), Guerrero (68.4% to 66.5%), Oaxaca (61.8% to 66.4%), and Veracruz (51.2% to 61.8%).

 

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“Even though in these 10 years the poverty gap between rural and urban areas has reduced, that index in 2018 in rural areas is still bigger: 55.3%, compared to 37.6% in urban areas,” sais the report.

Coahuila and Nuevo León have the highest proportion of people who are not in poverty situation. Between 2008 and 2018, 24 entities had a reduction of the population in poverty situation. The three with a higher decrease were Aguascalientes, Hidalgo, and Tlaxcala.

The CONEVAL measures the situation of poverty of people in accordance with two factors: that their activities give them an income that allows acquiring a basic food basket for their family, and another of basic services.

It also evaluates the 6 big gaps or social deprivations: if people live with educational lagging, if they lack healthcare, access to social security, the lack of living quality and spaces, access to basic housing services, and access to food.

It is considered that a person lives in moderate poverty when the total income of his or her family of four members is equal to or lower than MXN $12,000.

A person lives in extreme poverty when the income of his or her family of four members is of MXN $6,000 a month, which does not allow them to acquire the basic food basket.

This situation puts citizens under minimum welfare levels.
 

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