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Poverty in Chiapas: no improvement. Poverty in Chiapas: no improvement.

US $60 billion later, Chiapas no better off

Poverty has worsened over 24 years in Mexico's poorest state

The state of Chiapas has received nearly US $60 billion through poverty alleviation programs during the last 24 years, yet poverty is worse today in Mexico’s poorest state.

Several national and international organizations this week presented a report entitled “Inequality and Social Exclusion in Chiapas, a Long Term View,” in which specialists reached the conclusion that the contrasts between investment and poverty clearly show a great failure, leaving the state with the highest levels of inequality and poverty in the country.

Despite all the money invested in the state, 86% of its population is considered to be below the food poverty line, according to data collected by the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (Coneval).

“When the investment in social development programs and the evolution of poverty in the state are considered alongside, the results suggest that [the programs] have been ineffective, both in relative and absolute terms,” said the report.

Between the years 1990 and 2010, food poverty increased by 46.2%, capability poverty (a measurement of human capabilities) grew from 55.1 to 58%, and material poverty from 75.1 to 78%.

Illiteracy is another of the state’s great woes: 21% of women and 13.5% of men can’t read or write, and the state’s average for the number of years spent in school is 7.2, well below the national figure of 9.1. In the case of indigenous communities, that average drops to 3.8 years.

The document proposes rejigging social expenditures, leaving  the welfare state behind while moving forward with job creation, among other proposals.

The report is the product of a coordinated effort by several institutions, including the Autonomous University of Chiapas, Oxfam Mexico and Chiapas’ ISITAME Collective.

Source: Reforma (sp)

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