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Poverty Rate in ArubaAruba, a small country in the South Caribbean Sea, has been regarded as a popular vacation spot where tourism continues to thrive. Accounting for 30 percent of the island’s income, the tourism industry has been on the rise since 1985. This has brought an increase in business to the hotel industry as well as construction and the food industry. Tourism has helped create a flourishing economy and contributed to the low poverty rate in Aruba.

These increases of industry have paved the way for an increase in jobs. This contributes to the low unemployment rate, 6.9 percent as of 2005. Aruba’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been estimated at about $23,500 per capita in 2011, which is among the highest in Central and South America as well as the Caribbean.

The unemployment rate continues to be low due to an abundance of jobs and stable economy, yet jobs still go unfulfilled. With a focus on tourism, the majority of jobs are concentrated in the tourism industry, whether it be in the hotel industry or otherwise.

Although public debt was recorded as 67 percent of the GDP in 2013, the inflation rate in 2016 was negative at about minus 0.8 percent. Like any island nation, Aruba exports only a fraction of what it imports. Partially due to tourism, the island maintains a steady economy, where 1.79 Aruban Florin has consistently been equivalent to $1 U.S. since 2012. With more than one million visitors to the island per year, the majority of businesses in tourist areas operate on the U.S. dollar.

Aruba’s tourism industry has continued to thrive in recent years. Increases in the tourism industry have created low unemployment and have contributed to the low poverty rate in Aruba. The tourism industry is expected to continue to prosper in Aruba due to the stable economy and exchange rate. Continued low rates of poverty can also be expected for the near future of Aruba.

Stefanie Podosek

Photo: Flickr

Costa Rica’s Poverty Rate
In 2016, Costa Rica was named the happiest country in the world. But, while the country as a whole has enjoyed stability and a steadily growing economy in recent years, marginalized groups have been left behind. Discussed below are key facts about Costa Rica’s poverty rate that should not be overlooked.

 

7 Leading Facts About Costa Rica’s Poverty Rate

 

  1. Costa Rica’s inequality rate has increased since 2000, a division that disproportionately affects indigenous and minority groups. Today, the country’s richest 20 percent receive an income 19 times higher than that of the poorest 20 percent.
  2. While, overall, Costa Rica’s poverty rate has dropped from 22.4 percent to 21.7 percent from 2014 to 2015, the country’s extreme poverty rate rose from 5.8 percent to 7.2 percent, the highest recorded rate in the last 60 years.
  3. While 19 percent of urban households live in poverty and 5.2 percent live in extreme poverty, 30.3 percent of rural households live in poverty and 10.6 percent in extreme poverty.
  4. Poor Costa Ricans have, on average, three years less schooling than their economically stable peers.
  5. In Costa Rica, 43.5 percent of poor households are headed by women.
  6. Since an inflation crisis in the ’80s and ’90s, the Costa Rican government has managed to boost the economy through international tourism and exports. These sectors benefit qualified workers, while unskilled workers, over-represented by indigenous and minority groups, see no change or a decrease in their salaries.
  7. Public assistance to poor families increased by 9.3 percent per household and 6.9 percent per person from 2014 to 2015.

Costa Rica’s poverty rate seems to be sewed up neatly on the surface, but the growth of a country doesn’t always reflect the growth of its people. The disparity of incomes and opportunities between uneducated people in rural areas versus educated people in urban areas threatens to rob Costa Rica of its good economic reputation.

Sophie Nunnally

Photo: Flickr

Equatorial Guinea's Poverty Rate
Despite being one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies and a major producer of oil, Equatorial Guinea’s poverty rate is high due to institutional weaknesses and corruption that restrict the country’s ability to provide basic services to its people.

With a population of approximately one million people, Equatorial Guinea ranks 138 out of 188 countries in the Human Development Index for social and economic development, despite a per capita gross national income of $21,056 in 2014, the highest in Africa.

Oil has been a source of economic growth in Equatorial Guinea for the past five years, but due to corruption under President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who uses oil revenues to fund the lifestyles of the elite, poverty persists. The government invests an imbalanced ratio between infrastructure and health and education.

While the African Union’s development model prioritizes spending on health and education, the government spends around $80 out of every $100 on infrastructure and only $2 to $3 each on health and education.

The African Union does not prioritize Equatorial Guinea in its efforts to eradicate poverty because of its oil wealth. However, nearly half of the country’s population lacks access to clean water. In 2011, 26 percent of children were malnourished, and one in four children did not receive vaccinations. In 2016, 42 percent of children were not registered in primary schools. Only half of children finish primary school, and less than 25 percent begin middle school.

In a recent Human Rights Watch interview, researcher Sarah Saadoun described the mismanagement and high-level corruption in Equatorial Guinea. Saadoun explained that the display of wealth by the president’s family and other officials next to such poverty shows a contrasting picture of a country’s poverty despite its obvious wealth.

“What we found—unequivocally—is that the government has violated its obligation to realize people’s right to health and education…and it is hampering the government’s ability to deliver education, health and clean water to Equatorial Guineans,” Saadoun stated.

Equatorial Guinea’s poverty rate cannot improve if the country does not tackle corruption from within and invest in its companies and resources and receive foreign investments. Unless new reserves are found, the country’s oil will run out by 2035. Equatorial Guinea can become prosperous through poverty reduction if it makes smart moves before an economic crisis ensues.

Sarah Dunlap

Photo: Flickr

Poverty Rate in IndiaIndia has made incredible progress in efforts to decrease its population’s degree of poverty and improve the quality of life of its citizens throughout the last 20 years. The poverty rate in India fell from 45.3 to 21.9 percent between 1993 and 2011, and it continues to drop each year.

Behind only China, India is the second most-populated nation in the world with over 1.3 billion citizens. Additionally, India still houses one-third of the world’s poor, despite a 50 percent drop.

There is thus a two-way focus on India in achieving the World Bank’s Millennium Development Goals of defeating global poverty by 2030. While it is a clear example of successful aid and development, the nation still has a long way to go.

Despite its struggles, India has still transformed into one of the world’s fastest growing economies. India is an influential member of the G20, and it now acts as an important participant in international affairs.

The United States has provided a great deal of aid to India over the last two decades. Consequently, its dramatic improvement is proof that nations that once appeared hopeless can succeed in the global market.

In a blog post, Bill Gates cited India’s resurrection as “phenomenal.” Further, India “deserves recognition especially now, as rich countries consider whether to continue investing in global development assistance despite all the economic problems they face at home.”

Despite these developments, it is important to remember that there are still 400 million Indians living in extreme poverty. UNICEF has instituted programs that target these issues. These campaigns work to reduce neonatal deaths; increase child growth and development; protect children’s learning environment; and empower adolescents.

USAID plans to continue investing in the country’s healthcare, water, education, and energy. The G20 Summit will hopefully provide further opportunities to develop a plan that will eradicate poverty. Until world poverty has all but disappeared, India remains an unfinished success story.

Emily Trosclair

Photo: Flickr


The poverty rate in Afghanistan is currently at 39 percent, accounting for all Afghan citizens living below the poverty line. This translates to 1 in 3 citizens who are unable to satisfy their basic needs.

This high poverty rate is not only an increase of three percent from 2011 to 2012, but it is also demonstrative of the 15 years of economic and social progress that is increasingly at risk in the nation. According to the World Bank’s Poverty Status Update Report, since the beginning of the withdrawal of international forces in 2011 and of the political transition period, Afghanistan has suffered deteriorating security and employment opportunities despite general economic growth.

The World Bank’s report stated that one of the main reasons for the increased poverty rate is the significant decline in labor market conditions, a setback that hurts rural and youth populations the most. Between 2011 and 2014, rural poverty increased by 14 percent while urban poverty remained unchanged.

These numbers reflect the social inequalities deeply ingrained in Afghan society that are stressed in times of hardship, insecurity or crisis. Afghans living in urban settings are simply better protected and have better access to economic opportunities and health services than those who live in rural areas. Gender inequality is still overwhelming in Afghanistan, illustrated by a sharp decline in girls’ primary school attendance congruent with the rise in poverty.

In Afghanistan’s rural areas, 90 percent of women and 63 percent of men are illiterate. Furthermore, these men and women are also heavily dependent on livestock and agriculture for a decent portion of their income. A basic lack of resources, harsh climate conditions and years of conflict have made rural livelihoods difficult and vulnerable to any peril.

Fortunately, Afghanistan’s economy is predicted to eventually rebound; however, in order to reduce poverty going forward, areas of struggle and fragility must be addressed and prioritized. To promote future progress, health and education services need to be made more accessible to everyone and youth need to be integrated into the labor force.

Overall, to reduce the poverty rate in Afghanistan, the state needs to focus on more comprehensive, particularly rural, development to close the wide gap between the upper and lower classes and cultivate a more equal, prosperous population.

Catherine Fredette

Photo: Flickr


Poverty in the Solomon Islands poverty rateThe Solomon Islands is an archipelago of 992 tropical islands residing between Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu. The country has a population of 555,000 predominantly Melanesian citizens. Poverty in the Solomon Islands is a prevailing issue.

 

Factors Exacerbating Poverty in the Solomon Islands

 

UNICEF reports that this country is one of the poorest pacific islands as it is still recovering from recent civil conflict. In addition, the islands are consistently victims of natural disaster; they experienced five tropical cyclones, two volcanic eruptions and one tsunami in 2010 alone.

The Solomon Islands are located in a “ring of fire” or a zone of active volcanoes that also comprises 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes. The earthquake in January 2010 registered at a 7.2 magnitude. It left one-third of the population on the island of Rendova without a home, The Guardian reports.

Due to the abundance of devastating natural disaster, the infrastructure of the country is also under great pressure as those facing poverty move to urban areas. Caritas Australia reports that less than only one of every three islanders had access to sufficient sanitation facilities in 2012.

Natural disasters, political unrest and movement of displaced people have made poverty in the Solomon Islands a serious issue. The Asian Development Bank reports that 22.7 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.

Evidence of this can be seen as medical issues are often not tended to at a proper time. Lack of connectivity between the islands makes it difficult for doctors and medical professionals to reach certain islands regularly and especially in emergency situations.

Members of UNICEF experienced this first hand as they traveled to the Vella la Vella island by way of a forty minute boat ride, wading through water to reach land and walking along a gravel road to the islands’ only medical facility.

UNICEF worked with the staff to train and equip them through improved immunization services, prenatal and delivery care and programs designed to prevent HIV.

The organization has implemented a number of other programs in the islands such as aiding hospitals in reconstruction after damage due to the tsunami, along with expanded birth registration and counseling. UNICEF’s ultimate goal is to set-up opportunities that will enable medical facilities of the Solomon Islands to run efficiently on their own.

“It is very important that both UNICEF and other international donors when providing assistance… ensure that the assistance given lays the foundation for sustainable change in the communities that we aim to help,” said Andrei Dapkiunas, a permanent United Nations Representative and UNICEF partner.

UNICEF is not the only organization providing hope for the country. Caritas Australia, whose goal is to “end poverty, promote justice, uphold dignity” supports programs in the islands that teach social justice in schools. Over 5,000 children have been introduced to themes of equality, leadership, peacebuilding and environmental stewardship.

In light of the physical dangers the islanders face, the organization has provided teachers with curriculum instructing children how to prepare for natural disasters through nursery rhymes and games.

This country faces greater challenges than most due to its location on the globe, but the future is not without hope for these resilient people. Through programs and organizations working to build sustainable change, it is possible to combat poverty in the Solomon Islands.

Rebecca Causey

Photo: Flickr

Poverty in South Korea Poverty Rate 2016
In 2012, speakers and screens worldwide played “Gangnam Style,” a song that illustrated the life of the city that contains 7 percent of South Korea’s GDP in an area of 15 square miles. The hit surpassed 2 billion views on YouTube, but the opulence within the video is in no way representative of the true poverty in South Korea.

However, beneath the luxury, technology, and consumerism that characterize the nation is a forgotten and struggling generation largely responsible for transforming South Korea into a modern economy—the elderly.

 

Elderly Disproportionately Affected by Poverty in South Korea

 

Every Thursday, seniors line up for hours outside churches to receive the equivalent to 50 cents and a juice box or a banana. Organizers of this short-term relief program for poverty in South Korea report 300 to 500 seniors at each church every week.

“Half of the elderly is poor in [South] Korea. So it’s really a very serious problem,” Seoul National University professor Ku In-hoe told NPR. The country has the highest elderly poverty rate of the 34 developed nations.

The elderly living in poverty in South Korea earn 50 percent or less of the median household income, which amounts to U.S. $9,890 per year, according to the IB Times.

The government does provide alleviation with pensions of $200 per month for the retired, but the National Pension Research Institute Survey revealed this amounts to merely a quarter of the minimum income needed for single households. Furthermore, only an estimated 35 percent of seniors receive the pension.

While 7.9 percent of households with a retired senior describe their living expenses as “comfortable,” 41.7 percent rated them as “inadequate” and 20.4 percent as “extremely inadequate”.

Those living in poverty in South Korea increasingly rely on loans to survive. The national household debt recently topped US $971.6 billion, or 81 percent of the South Korean GDP.

“Before the 1990s, usually younger people supported their parents during their retirement so it was not that serious of a problem,” Ku added in his interview with the NPR. “But elderly people [now] live longer, and younger people also experience economic difficulty.”

In fact, the declining birth rate in South Korea will stymie the ability for the young to meet the demands of a growing population. The most recent Korean Census shows the elderly rose from 7 percent of the population in 2000 to 12 percent in 2013. Experts expect continued increase as more baby boomers age and retire.

An organizer of the church and mobile soup kitchen services, Pastor Choi Won, also cites the waning of Confucian traditions as a contributor to the elderly poor in an interview with Korea Portal.

“Gone are the days when children looked after their parents,” he said. One in three seniors lives alone in South Korea.

The South Korean government plans to provide more assistance in the future, as the pension system that began in 1988 evolves. Officials predict, “90 percent of people aged 64 and over will receive pension by 2060,” according to Korea Portal.

In the meantime, churches will continue to provide additional assistance to elders who experience poverty in South Korea.

Ashley Leon

Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Jamaica Poverty rate
Jamaica has struggled with poverty, unemployment and crime for the past half century, but the nation has recently seen ambitious government economic policies bear fruit. Discussed below are the leading facts about poverty in Jamaica and their implications.

 

8 Shocking Facts about Poverty in Jamaica

 

  1. Jamaica is not in extreme poverty and is regarded as a middle income country. For comparison, Jamaica has about 1/20th the GDP per capita of the United States, but a four-times-higher GDP per capita than the nearby country Haiti.
  2. Since the 1970s and 80s, Jamaica has experienced serious problems with poverty and unemployment. Through the 90s, unemployment remained around 15 percent, with poverty above 25 percent. The unemployment rate is currently 14 percent and poverty is 16 percent.
  3. A serious hindrance to Jamaica’s development has been slow rates of economic growth. In the past 30 years, Jamaica has had an average annual GDP growth rate of less than one percent. The slow growth rate is a major cause of persistent poverty in Jamaica.
  4. Relationships between Jamaican officials and crime groups cause widespread corruption, which results in many of Jamaica’s problems. The corruption not only hurts law abiding Jamaican citizens, but makes foreign investors far more hesitant to get involved in Jamaican industry.
  5. Public education in Jamaica is not entirely free, as there is a registration fee and other school expenses that are not covered by the government. As a result, many of the nation’s most poor children are not able to attend school.
  6. Jamaica jumped 27 places in the 2015 Doing Business ranking, as the Jamaican government has improved its credit rating and decreased the national debt. It is hoped that the improved ranking will increase investment and alleviate poverty in Jamaica.
  7. The World Bank has a positive outlook for Jamaica’s economy, with forecasts of the country’s GDP growth rate climbing to over two percent in 2017.
  8. The Jamaican Government is currently working with the UNDP and the European Union to alleviate poverty on both a macro and micro level. Poverty alleviation and achievement of Millennium Development Goals remains a top priority for the Jamaican government.

Despite Jamaica’s history of poverty and some ongoing problems, economic forecasts for the country remain optimistic. It is possible that Jamaica will experience an economic resurgence and alleviate problems of unemployment and poverty in coming years.

John English

Photo: Pixabay

Poverty in Switzerland Swiss Poor Areas Poverty RatePoverty in Switzerland remains lower than many of its European neighbors. However, rates still affect a large part of the population. So, why are the Swiss poor? In the country, a lack of awareness about poverty combined with a high cost of living compounds the struggles felt by impoverished residents. Below are are the leading facts about poverty in Switzerland.

 

Top 7 Facts about Poverty in Switzerland

 

1. One in 13 Swiss Residents Live Below the Poverty Line

Switzerland is one of the world’s wealthiest nations. However, data shows that one in 13 residents of Switzerland are still living in poverty. The rate ian come as a surprise to many, as Switzerland is often associated with economic stability.  By comparison, an estimated one in five residents of Britain lives in poverty, while the average resident of Zurich makes 21 times more per hour than the average resident of Kiev, Ukraine. Switzerland’s poverty rate is significantly lower than nearby European nations, however 6.6 percent of the Swiss population still lives in poverty.

2. High Cost of Living Amplifies the Issue

Residents of Switzerland must account for high cost of living; food prices and the cost of housing make daily financial needs quite high. Mandatory private health insurance adds further expense. Recent reports show Zurich and Geneva as two of the most expensive cities in the world in terms of cost of living, with certain reports placing the cities above New York City. However, higher incomes in the cities typically offset this cost, with high purchasing power reported. As a result, Zurich and Geneva rank second and third respectively in terms of purchasing power (surpassed only by Luxembourg.)

3. Poverty Line is Set to Incorporate Cost of Living

In order to account for the high cost of living in Switzerland, the poverty rate has been set to incorporate the financial demands of living in the country. For a single person, the poverty line is set as making less than 2,200 francs per month (equal to slightly more than $2,200 in the U.S.) A couple living with two children is considered below the poverty line if earning less than 4,050 francs per month. Poverty in Switzerland is understood as the inability to afford the goods and social services necessary to a healthy and socially integrated life. The Swiss Conference for Social Statistics sets poverty line thresholds based upon meeting those needs.

4. Elderly, Immigrant and Single-Parent Populations are Especially Vulnerable

Certain populations in Switzerland are especially vulnerable to poverty. These populations are much like the vulnerable populations in many countries, including families with only one parent, elderly residents, the unemployed, unskilled laborers and people living alone. Rates of poverty among these populations are significantly higher than other demographics. For example, those over the age of 60 are nearly three times more likely to live in poverty.

5. Trial and Error Approach to Solutions, Including Universal Basic Income

As Switzerland seeks to address the levels of poverty which remain in the country, a referendum was voted on which would have paid each Swiss family a weekly guaranteed income. While the referendum failed in a vote this June, it represents innovation in seeking solutions to poverty. Switzerland is the first country to consider a solution of this kind. Some consider the failure an important step, nonetheless, as it provides a platform for discussing the meaning of basic income.

6. Wages and Income Can Be Quite High Relative to European Neighbors

Incomes in Swiss cities are often quite high, with the average resident of Zurich earning $41 per hour or more. This level of earning is often what leads to association of Switzerland with a lifestyle of security and contributes to offsetting high costs of living. However, for the 6.6 percent of Swiss residents who do live in poverty, keeping up with city living costs (dependent on similar wages) can lead to daily struggle.

7. Poverty in Switzerland is Decreasing

The good news for addressing poverty in Switzerland is a recent decrease in numbers of those living in poverty. Since 2007, rates have decreased from 9.3 percent to 6.6 percent.

Assessing poverty in Switzerland demonstrates the importance of not allowing a minority impoverished population to go overlooked. The country’s innovative and consistent efforts to address poverty represent a democratic model for the discussion surrounding poverty in developed nations.

Charlotte Bellomy

Photo: Flickr

Mexico's Poverty Rate
The number of Mexicans living in poverty increased by two million between 2012 and 2014, according to Reuters. These figures of Mexico’s poverty rate highlight the challenges President Enrique Peña Nieto is facing in meeting pledges to help millions in need.

 

President Enrique Peña Nieto Struggles with Mexico’s Poverty Rate

 

“With his six-year term half over, Enrique Peña Nieto is trying to rally public confidence in his government’s economic plan amid lackluster growth projections,” said International Business Times.

While his efforts have focused on making Mexico a competitive nation, “the government is flailing in its battle against staggering income inequality and poverty rates that have remained virtually unchanged over the past 20 years,” according to International Business Times.

In 2014, Mexico’s poverty rate increased from 45.5 to 46.2 percent, corresponding to 55.3 million people in the country of approximately 120 million, said a spokesperson for the government’s social development agency.

According to Oxfam Mexico’s executive director, “while the wealth of Mexican multimillionaires is multiplied by five, 48 percent of state schools have no access to sewage, 31 percent have no drinking water, 12.8 percent have no bathrooms or toilets and 11.2 percent have no access to electricity.”

Under Peña Nieto’s administration, the problem has only worsened. While many Latin American countries have diminished their levels of poverty, Mexico’s have continued to increase.

Peña Nieto recognizes that income inequality, global economic turmoil and corruption have prevented Mexico from both an economic boost and a diminished poverty rate.

Jonathan Foxx, a political science professor at American University in Washington, D.C. suggested that “neither inequality nor poverty reduction have been major priorities of this administration, nor the previous administrations.”

The government has been criticized for being too focused on attracting foreign investment and strengthening large-scale private industries, rather than concentrating on reducing its poverty rate.

Professor Foxx added that Mexico’s poverty rate remains the largest concern, regardless of wide income disparities. “If the government was more effective at reducing poverty, then people would worry less about inequality,” he said. “But since neither is getting better, it’s hard to disentangle.”

A major shift in focus and strategy is needed if Mexico is to succeed in combating its increasing poverty rate.

Isabella Rölz

Sources: International Business Times, Reuters, World Bank
Photo: Flickr