Jamaica Records Increase In Poverty

Jamaica Records Increase In Poverty
Jamaica is one of the world’s most indebted countries

AFRICANGLOBE – Poverty increased to one-fifth of the Jamaican population, according to the just-released Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions (JSLC) 2012.

Interestingly, poverty increased in most urban areas but dropped in the majority of rural areas due mainly to increased earnings from agriculture.

“The all-Jamaica individual poverty prevalence increased by 2.3 percentage points relative to 2010 to reach 19.9 per cent,” stated the survey findings released on Friday at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) head office in Kingston.

St Thomas became the most impoverished parish with a 32.5 per cent prevalence, while St Mary offers the least prevalence of poverty at 9.4 per cent.

“There was an increase in agriculture production and the resumption of bauxite operations in some parishes,” stated Caren Nelson, manager, Policy Research Unit at the PIOJ, when quizzed on the reduction in rural poverty.

“There was real decline in the per capita consumption except for the rural areas,” Nelson said in her address that looked at the poorest 20 per cent or quintile 1 of the population that lives on $74,000 per capita consumption, compared with the richest 20 per cent or quintile 5 on $520,000.

The report covered areas of demography, household consumption, health, education, housing, social protection, early childhood development, and ageing.

The PIOJ and Statistical Institute of Jamaica (Statin) apologised for the delay in releasing the report which they jointly publish. However, they indicated that it will still benefit academics, researchers, and historians.

“The ultimate goal is timely analysis and data collection. We note and acknowledge the delays,” stated Colin Bullock, director general at the PIOJ, in his address.

“We will try to make the information more timely,” stated Carol Coy, director general of Statin, at the launch.

The previous report was tabled in 2010 by former Prime Minister Bruce Golding when the results of the 2008 and 2009 surveys were also tabled.

The JSLC allows for the tracking of Jamaica’s progress, especially in relation to Vision 2030 and United Nations millennium development goals. It started as an annual publication in 1988, providing a detailed profile of the quality of life and social conditions experienced by Jamaicans over a one-year period.


By: Stephen Jackson