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  • Mexico's 'Territorial Inequity Index' (IET) sits at 0.13, way above the 0.08 threshold of 'high inequality.'

    Mexico's 'Territorial Inequity Index' (IET) sits at 0.13, way above the 0.08 threshold of 'high inequality.' | Photo: EFE

Published 14 June 2018

A new study analyzes inequality in territorial terms in Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Chile.

Mexico has the highest territorial inequality of seven countries analyzed by the Latin American Center for Rural Development (Rimisp) in its new '2017 Poverty and Inequality' report, based on the U.N.'s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

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The report uses the 'Territorial Inequity Index' (IET) developed by the study center and linked to the SDGs to measure levels of poverty and inequality using a territorial perspective.

Mexico's IET sits at 0.13, way above the 0.08 threshold of 'high inequality.' It's closely followed by Guatemala, with more than 0.10, then by Colombia, Bolivia and Peru, in that order.

Meanwhile, Ecuador and Chile have the lowest territorial inequality rates of the countries analyzed, with 0.076 and 0.062 respectively. They are the only countries in the 'medium inequality' realm. No country made the equality line.

"Poverty and access to public services or economic activity are distributed unequally among territories, which adds a persistent territorial equality to the already complex social inequality that harms Latin American societies, of the relatively bad situation in which poor rural areas compared with others in urban areas," the study says.

The report was presented to Mexico's Senate and showed many alarming statistics. The rate of young unemployed people who aren't studying rose from 25 to 33.6 percent in 98 percent of Mexico's municipalities, especially in the state of Oaxaca.

Straggler territories usually have some things in common: they're smaller in terms of population, more rural and have a greater proportion of native people or people of African descent. Located far from the benefits of cities, they usually have less access to education and job opportunities.

In the Benito Juarez delegation in Mexico City, one of its most wealthy, the illiteracy rate is less then 1 percent. Meanwhile in Cochoapa El Grande, one of the poorest municipalities in Guerreros' La Montaña region, more than 56 percent of people over the age of 14 years can't read or write.

Cristian Leyton, one of the researches that developed the project, said that between 2010 and 2015 inequality in 93 percent of Mexican municipalities rose from 0.37 to 0.45 in the Gini coefficient. However, it went from 0.55 to 0.45 in Tlalixtac de Cabrera in Oaxaca and San Javier in Sonora.

Leyton said the SDGs considered for the report are ending poverty, food security, guaranteeing a healthy life, inclusive education, gender equality, access to water, inclusive economic growth, inequality reduction and sustainable cities.

To overcome the breaches between territories, the report suggests taking into account the institutions and rules of the game; the subjects present in the territory and their capacity to act for and coordinate for shared objectives, and the territory's economic and productive structure, which determines employment opportunities and influences environmental sustainability, opportunities for women and access to services.

The IET was first presented in 2015, when Bolivia boasted the best territorial equality and Guatemala had the worst.

The United Nations adopted Agenda 2030 for the Sustainable Development Goals and included 'territorial equality,' among other objectives.

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