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A view of San Simón Zahuatlán, Mexico's poorest municipality in 2020. A view of San Simón Zahuatlán, Oaxaca, Mexico's poorest municipality in 2020.

More than 98% of the population lives in poverty in Mexico’s 15 poorest municipalities

They are located in Oaxaca, Chiapas and Guerrero, states with large indigenous populations

In Mexico’s 15 poorest municipalities – located in three southern states with large indigenous populations — more than 98% of the population lives in poverty.

A report published by national social development agency Coneval on Wednesday shows that eight of those municipalities are in Oaxaca, six are in Chiapas and one is in Guerrero.

The poorest municipality in 2020 was San Simón Zahuatlán, Oaxaca, where 99.6% of residents live in poverty. In 2019, human development in the municipality, located in the state’s Mixteca region, was comparable to that in Yemen, the United Nations said in a report.

The second poorest municipality was Cochoapa el Grande, Guerrero, where the practice of selling young girls into marriage to alleviate poverty is common. According to Coneval, 99.4% of residents in the Montaña region municipality live in poverty.

The other 13 municipalities with poverty rates above 98% were, in order, Coicoyán de las Flores, Oaxaca; San Juan Cancuc, Chiapas; San Francisco Teopan, Oaxaca; Chanal, Chiapas; San Lucas Camotlán, Oaxaca; Aldama, Chiapas; Chalchihuitán, Chiapas; San Miguel Tilquiápam, Oaxaca; Santiago Amoltepec, Oaxaca; San Miguel Mixtepec, Oaxaca; Chenalhó, Chiapas; Santiago Tlazoyaltepec, Oaxaca; and San Andrés Duraznal, Chiapas.

Five of those – San Simón Zahuatlán, Aldama, Chanal, Chalchihuitán, San Juan Cancuc – were also among the 15 poorest municipalities in the country in 2010 and 2015.

A person is considered to be living in poverty if their income is below Coneval’s poverty threshold – currently 3,898 pesos (US $187) per month in urban areas and 2,762 pesos (US $133) in rural areas – and they present at least one social deficiency out of six, among which are poor access to adequate nutrition, housing and healthcare.

A person is considered to be living in extreme poverty if their income is below 1,850 pesos per month in urban areas and 1,457 pesos in rural areas and they present at least three social deficiencies.

The 15 municipalities with the highest extreme poverty rates are also located in Oaxaca, Chiapas and Guerrero. Santiago Amoltepec ranked first in that category with 84.4% of residents living in extreme poverty.

Coneval also identified the municipalities with the highest number of residents living in poverty and extreme poverty last year.

León, Guanajuato, headed the former list with almost 817,000 impoverished people.

San Pedro Garza García, Nuevo León, a municipality in the Monterrey metropolitan area, had the lowest poverty rate in the country in 2020.
San Pedro Garza García, Nuevo León, a municipality in the Monterrey metropolitan area, had the lowest poverty rate in the country in 2020.

Five other municipalities had more than half a million poor people in 2020, when poverty levels rose due to the pandemic. They were Ecatepec, México state; Iztapalapa, Mexico City; Puebla city; Nezahualcóyotl, México state; and Toluca, México state.

Acapulco, Guerrero, had the highest number of people living in extreme poverty – more than 126,000 – while León, Iztapalapa, Toluca and Ocosingo, Chiapas, also had more than 100,000 extremely poor residents.

Coneval said that half of all Mexicans not considered poor live in just 46 urban municipalities, located mainly in the country’s central and northern states.

San Pedro Garza García, Nuevo León, an affluent municipality in the metropolitan area of Monterrey, had the lowest poverty rate in the country in 2020 with just 5.5% of residents considered poor. Human development there in 2019 was comparable to that in France, the U.N. said.

Eleven of the 15 municipalities with the lowest poverty rates last year – all 11% or lower – are in Nuevo León. The ten others are Parás, Agualeguas, Marín, Higueras, Melchor Ocampo, Abasolo, Los Herreras, General Treviño, San Nicolás de los Garza and Cerralvo.

The four other municipalities among the 15 with the lowest poverty rates last year are Benito Juárez, Mexico City; Huépac, Sonora; Riva Palacio, Chihuahua; and Abasolo, Coahuila.

A report published earlier this month said that Mexico is one of the most unequal countries in the world. The top 10% of income earners in Mexico earn over 30 times more than the bottom 50%, said the World Inequality Report 2022, completed by the World Inequality Lab.

Mexico News Daily 

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