Poverty in Mexico

"In a period of 10 years (2008-2018), the percentage of the population living in poverty decreased from 44.4% to 41.9%, as a result of the reduction from 11.0% to 7.4% of the population living in extreme poverty and from the increase of 33.4% to 34.5% of the population in a situation of moderate poverty. "
Por Javier Cázares Salinas
Nov 23, 2021

While waiting for the (not very encouraging) results of the poverty measurement at the national level and by CONEVAL states for 2020, we can only analyze the latest data that we have, that is, those of 2018.

CONEVAL for several years has been a world example for developing economies by having created and used its own poverty measurement system, which, unlike the traditional and one-dimensional measurement based on an income poverty line, includes also the presence of six social deprivations in the life of the Mexican population – educational backwardness, access to health services, access to social security, access to food, quality and housing spaces, and access to basic services in the House.

On the other hand, the efficiency in the allocation of resources of the public function has not been anything desirable to replicate since, despite the fact that 10 years have passed since the beginning of the use of this measurement, the country is in the same place.

Although the measurement changed, the reality did not. The saying goes, “The numbers speak for themselves,” however, interpreting their language will make it impossible for us to understand them. In a period of 10 years (2008-2018), the percentage of the population living in poverty decreased from 44.4% to 41.9%, as a result of the reduction from 11.0% to 7.4% of the population living in extreme poverty and the increased from 33.4% to 34.5% of the population in a situation of moderate poverty.

On paper, given that population growth is not contemplated, despite the increase in the percentage of the population in a situation of moderate poverty, which would be explained in part by the great detriment of the percentage in a situation of extreme poverty (which would imply a social mobility towards poverty). moderate), this appears to represent slight progress. Unfortunately, this is not the case and Mexico had 3 million more inhabitants living in poverty in 2018 than it did in 2008. Why is this due? Simple: the significant population growth has not been offset by the weak percentage decrease in population living in poverty.

In 2008, Mexico had 49.5 million inhabitants living in poverty, in 2018 it had 52.4 and, as if that were not enough, the sad results obtained with the multidimensional measurement of poverty are brilliant compared to those shown by the traditional measurement of income poverty. , given that in 2008 the country had a population below the income poverty line of 54.7 million people (49.0% of this year’s population) and by 2018 it had increased to 61.1 million (48.8% of this year’s population ), of which the population with incomes below the extreme poverty line by income was 18.7 (16.8%) and 21.0 (16.8%) million people for each year, respectively.

Whether with the traditional and one-dimensional measurement or the novel and multidimensional measurement, the social policy implemented in Mexico for the period 2008-2018 had a poor effectiveness that has generated more poor people than it has managed to mobilize. A part of Mexico idealizes the concept of “economic growth” and longs to be part of the badly called “first world” but forgets that one in two Mexicans is a population with income below the poverty line, and that in addition to being a Disturbing data on its own, it becomes depressing to learn that this indicator has remained constant for 10 years.

Of course, growth is a necessary condition to achieve development, but not a sufficient one. The reduced economic growth in Mexico has not permeated any significant effect on social mobility in the last 10 recorded years and the figures to be published for 2020 are shaping up to be even worse than those of 2018, given the slowdown and stagnation of the economy derived from it. of the COVID-19 crisis and various structural conditions.

As I said at the beginning, the numbers speak to us, we just haven’t understood them. The results presented by CONEVAL for the measurement of poverty seem not only not to have been understood by the general population, but also by those decision makers for whom this information is intended in order to use it in the creation of strategies and public policies in favor of social mobility. Much remains to be done, or without going so far, to start doing. Of course, this after learning the language of numbers and understanding what to do.

Javier Cázares Salinas

Javier Cázares Salinas

Economista por la UDEM y Consultor de Inversión Social en Neeta.
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