Friday, Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s administration received word that despite an improving economy, just under half of the country’s population lives in poverty, and that number is rising.
According to a report from the National Political and Social Development Commission (Coneval), 46.2 percent of Mexico’s population (52 million people) is living in poverty, which is up from 48.8 million in 2008. Poverty is described not only by having a low income, but by access to education, food, health care, housing and other basic services.
And though the percent of those living in extreme poverty dropped from 10.6 to 10.5 percent, the number of people remains at 11.7 million people.
The report showed that in between 2008 and 2010, Veracruz, Guanajuato, Chihuahua, Oaxaca, and Baja California were the states with the greatest increase in the number of people living in poverty.
President Calderon and his administration have worked hard to portray Mexico as having a blossoming economy, and was quick to blame the figures on the global financial crisis.
Minister of Social Development Heriberto Felix Guerra, who is responsible for the programs aimed at reducing poverty levels in the country. He defended the government’s actions to date, saying great strides were made in coming back from the global financial crisis that occurred between 2008 and 2009, and says the government’s achievements should be recognized.
Human rights groups are so quick to support Calderon’s administration however, and say it has failed to make the abolishment of poverty enough of a priority.
Conveal identifies poverty as living on less than 2,115 pesos (about $180) a month in urban areas, and extreme poverty as have less than 978 pesos (roughly $83) a month.
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