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#364723 - 01/21/10 01:08 AM Poverty Line at $10 a Day
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Poverty Line at $10 a Day

Last week on this newscast – Albert Area Representative Mark Espat said that the Poverty Assessment Survey would show that the percentage of Belizeans living in poverty had grown from 33% to 43% between 2002 and 2009. We expected that information would have been officially released today when the – but it wasn’t; in fact, that will be released next week. Today was a media workshop to advise the media on how to interpret the survey. Similar workshops are being held with all relevant stakeholders for their input. Carlos Pol – the economist in charge of the survey told us more.

Jules Vasquez,

“Has the poverty level grown, has the number of those likely to go into poverty grown? You are not releasing the figures.”

Carlos Pol, Economist
“No at the moment we are not releasing the figures. What we did this morning with the media is that we showed how we get to the poverty line meaning the dollar cost for poverty line and indigent line and we explained to them how we calculate it but we are not releasing figures of if poverty has increased or decreased. This will be made next Tuesday at the national consultation.”

Jules Vasquez,

“Looking at it in the most suspicious ways one can, are you having these consultations to sort of soften the blow for what may come next week?”

Carlos Pol,

“Not necessarily no, we are not doing that. We are just bringing to the people to all stakeholders what they gave us when we consulted them for them to have another opportunity to validate. For the moment what we can share is that for the national level, for you to be considered a poor person we have a daily amount of $10. If you do not have ten dollars with you for your food items we are considering you a poor person.”

The survey will be released next Thursday but we’ll have an advance review of some major fining in tomorrow’s newscast.

Live and let live

#364803 - 01/22/10 12:25 AM Re: 142,000 Belizeans Considered Poor [Re: Short]
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142,000 Belizeans Considered Poor

The Country Poverty Assessment will be officially released next week Tuesday – but according to figures that have been leaked to 7News – the portrait it paints is of a country sinking more deeply into poverty. The survey was carried out in over two thousand households in April of 2009. It follows up on the 2002 survey and it clearly demonstrates that in the intervening 7 years, poverty has increased sharply.

142,000 thousand Belizeans, 43% of the population, are considered poor, while 52,000 of those - 16% of the population is considered indigent, or very poor – which means that they can’t afford the minimum food basket which is $5.50 per day. Then there is another category, the vulnerable, those who are able to afford daily expenditure just above the poverty line – which is set at ten dollars. The vulnerable amounts to another 45,000 persons, 14% of the population. Add that to the 43% who are poor and you’ll have more than half the population either poor or vulnerable, meaning they are at risk of falling into poverty.

A table cited in the draft report shows that Belize has the highest poverty rate in a sampling of Caribbean countries. In fact, Belize’s poverty rate – the report says – is on par with Mexico. And Belize’s rising poverty has affected every district, except Toledo. Most worryingly, Corozal’s poverty and indigence have both doubled; in fact its poverty level now approaches Toledo’s.

And what’s the cause of it? Well, the draft report concludes that it is due to a decline in the sugar cane sector and the fact that some areas were very badly affected by the 2008 floods. The report shows that there was a sharp decline overall in agriculture and the fishing industry declined an alarming 37%. Like we said this is just a small sampling of findings and more will be released when the report is launched on Tuesday.

Live and let live


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