In the past few years, poverty in Saint Kitts and Nevis has been significantly reduced, and other grand achievements were made on a wider scale. However, certain events have left the two-island country vulnerable, particularly in areas of health, the environment and economic situations.
- Before the financial crisis of 2008, nearly 24 percent of the population in Saint Kitts, or one in four people, was considered poor. Nevis’ numbers fell shorter at 15.9 percent, or one in seven.
- Poverty in Saint Kitts and Nevis worsened as a result of the global economic crisis that began in 2008 and the hurricanes that ravaged the Caribbean in previous years. Hurricanes Omar and Earl struck the country in 2008 and 2010, with an impact on the balance of payments at $19 million, or about 3.5 percent of the country’s GDP.
- According to the United Nations Development Programme, 4.5 percent of the total population is unemployed.
- According to the CIA World Factbook, improved drinking water sources have been noted in Saint Kitts and Nevis for 98.3 percent of the total population which leaves 1.7 percent of the population without improved water sources as of 2015. Similarly, improved sanitation facility access has assisted 87.3 percent of the total population.
- Poverty in Saint Kitts and Nevis also links to the existence of chronic diseases, one such being dengue fever, a mosquito-borne virus central to the area. As of 2010, 122 cases of dengue have been reported.
- Fortunately, education in Saint Kitts and Nevis has experienced an upward spiral, with the net enrollment in primary schools at 89 percent in 2009 and the literacy rate in people over 15 at 97 percent.
Saint Kitts and Nevis has had its share of events with negative impacts – physically, socially and economically. However, with the nation continually making plans for improvement, poverty in Saint Kitts and Nevis in all its forms can hopefully be eradicated.
– Mikaela Frigillana