Poverty in Barbados

Barbados is known as a beautiful tourist destination in the Caribbean, but poverty in Barbados is still an issue that is being addressed.

  1. Poverty levels have been experiencing an overall rise since 1996. Household poverty rates increased from 8.7 percent to 15 percent and individual poverty rates increased from 13.9 percent to 19.3 percent.
  2. A Caribbean Development Bank report notes that the conditions of those living below the poverty threshold is favorable compared to other countries in the Caribbean.
  3. Because Barbados is relatively small and still in development, it is susceptible to external economic shocks, meaning that external variables outside of Barbados can have a notable impact on its economy.
  4. Household structure carries a major correlation to household poverty. Poor households often exhibit overcrowding.
  5. About 60 percent of poor households are female headed. Additionally, a gender gap seems to exist in the workforce, with women earning about 0.75 of what men make for similar services, while also experiencing segregation from certain jobs. The ratio of non-earners to earners is also highest in female-headed households.
  6. Overcrowding in poor households has actually declined from 17.0 percent to 11.0 percent, and the unemployment rate in poor households declined from 30.8 percent to 25.9 percent.
  7. Barbados was ranked among the top 50 countries in terms of its human development status. Of note, 99.7 percent of the population is literate.
  8. Last year, Barbados agreed to a $10 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) that will be used to combat poverty. Some of the goals include funding daycare services and school supplies as well as providing counseling for those seeking jobs.

While poverty in Barbados is still an issue, efforts are underway to change the status quo and improve the lives of future generations.

Edmond Kim

Photo: Flickr