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  • Poverty in Colombia’s countryside is considerably higher than in the cities.

    Poverty in Colombia’s countryside is considerably higher than in the cities. | Photo: Reuters

Published 14 July 2019

The statistics body reported that among the 32 departments that compose Colombia, 20 percent of the people suffer from high rates of multidimensional poverty

Colombia's National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE) presented Friday the country's report for poverty in 2018. According to the results 15 million Colombians "feel" they live in a condition of poverty. 

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The statistics body reported that among the 32 departments that compose Colombia, 19.6 percent of the people suffer from high rates of multidimensional poverty, meaning they are poorer and lack access to public services. 

The multidimensional nature of poverty approach, beyond the most classic monetary definition, took not only the monetary criteria into account, but also included general perception, the satisfaction of vital needs, and being financially well off. 

Colombians increasingly feel that the quality of their lives has dramatically decreased and that they are impoverishing, according to DANE, which reported that 34.7 percent of households, made up of an average of three people, responded that “they feel poor”, which in turn represents around 15 million people.

Using a range of measures covering all the different aspects of poverty, the institution revealed that the quality of access to basic services and to public policies has decreased when compared to 2016 figures.

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Poverty in Colombia’s countryside is considerably higher than in the cities. La Guajira, with 51.4 percent of its population living in poverty, was the highest in the Caribbean region; Choco with 45.1 percent was the department with the highest indicator in the Pacific; Norte de Santander with 31.5 percent was the department with the highest numbers in the Eastern region; and Caqueta with 28.7 percent in the Central region.

Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and the Dominican Republic head the list of countries in Latin American and the Caribbean facing urban-rural gaps and deep rural inequalities that generate extreme poverty and hunger, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

In terms of monetary poverty and extreme monetary poverty, DANE set up a minimum income line to determine if a person or household should be considered “poor.”

From this measurement, it defined the poorest departments are Nariño, Choco, and Cauca. As more than 40 percent of the population of Nariño, which borders Ecuador, and more than 60 percent of Chocho’s population, which borders the Pacific, live below the minimum income level. 

In contrast, the highest monetary poverty lines, meaning the "richest" departments, were Atlantico, Bogota, and Quindio. 


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