Bolivia has recorded growth in several important life categories. However, being home to more than 11 million people, the country has a long way to go before being considered a developed country. In the article below, the top 10 facts about living conditions in Bolivia are presented.
Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Bolivia
- Unemployment in Bolivia is currently at 6.2 percent. The poverty rate in 2016 was at 39.5 percent, and this number almost halved from 66.4 percent in 2000. Bolivia is one of the most impoverished countries in South America, but the numbers show vast improvement over the last decade.
- The expected years of schooling of 14 years ranks Bolivia at 118th place in the world for education below the countries like Chile, Columbia, Venezuela and Brazil. However, education in Bolivia used to average around 11 years in 1990, indicating great improvements in this area.
- According to the U.N. development program reports, both genders receive the same amount of primary schooling, but women still face more struggles on a day-to-day basis. Child marriage for girls below age 18 is at 19 percent and estimated yearly income for women is only about half of what men are paid.
- For the last 28 years, Habitat for Humanity has worked transforming lives and providing homes with basic facilities for 58 percent of Bolivians who live in slums. Dirt floors, crowded bedrooms and lack of clean water and essentials spell proliferation of illness and parasites. As rising urbanization means 68.5 percent live in cities, Habitat views managing the space of the millions who live in city slums as a human rights issue.
- Out of the total labor force, skilled labor makes up 45.2 percent. Socio-economic sustainability often relies on diversification of employment opportunities and resources. While child labor still exists, Bolivia has made strides in 2017 to eliminate child labor in agriculture. In the past, many children were allowed to work as young as 10 years old. Data from 2016 published by UNESCO estimates that 13.9 percent of the population aged from 7 to 14 are child workers, employed in agriculture, services, mining and other hard labor.
- Life expectancy is up to 69.1 years as of 2016, and with the assistance of organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and CHOICE Humanitarian, basic access to nutrition and clean water has increased within the last decade. Still, the country does not have a comprehensive health care system and around 60 percent of people do not have access to basic facilities like clean water and modern sewage.
- In 2017 alone, Action Against Hunger helped 12,651 people in Bolivia. Out of this number, 7,672 were reached by nutrition and health programs, 1,470 were reached by safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene programs and 3,509 benefited from food security and livelihood programs. Some 75 percent of Bolivians lack regular access to basic food and nutrition. Action Against Hunger began a project in 2000 providing long-term food security to thousands of residents and job support while working with the health system addressing child malnutrition.
- According to the World Bank data, 39.7 percent of the population has access to the internet, an increase of over 15 percent since 2010.
- Along with Action Against Hunger and Habitat for Humanity, CHOICE Humanitarian is working to end extreme poverty in the rural indigenous groups of the high plains. The director Willy Mendoza, whose Aymará heritage gives him special insight to the needs of the indigenous people the organization serves, directs the bulk of efforts into school construction, microcredit and enterprise programs, clean water and latrines. The long bond of trust established between CHOICE and the Bolivian people helps implementation of the programs run smoothly.
- In 2006, the Bolivian government instituted a national Zero Malnutrition program prioritizing undernutrition in communities with high rates of food security. CHOICE Bolivia is supported by the government as a means of battling extreme poverty and has changed many of the indigenous communities with access to water, sanitation, and credit opportunities. The organization hopes extreme poverty will continue to be eradicated through tools based on knowledge, science, technology and sustainable social development.
Overall, Bolivia has grown in its diversification of employment, access to basic facilities and consideration of human rights issues. Poverty still troubles 39 percent of the population and many still require access to clean water and nutrition, but with the help of leaders like Willy Mendoza and groups like Habitat and CHOICE Humanitarian, fundamental needs like good shelter and water continue to be satisfied. These changes and many of the top 10 facts about living conditions in Bolivia show what sustainable organizations backed by the government can accomplish in a developing country.
– Hannah Peterson