SIB releases 2021 Multidimensional Poverty Index

SIB releases 2021 Multidimensional Poverty Index

The Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) this morning released its findings of its 2021 Multidimensional Poverty Index which is placed at 0.139. Thirty-five point seven percent of the population were multidimensionally poor. The SIB also reported that the intensity was at thirty-nine percent. The Toledo District remained the poorest district at sixty-point-three percent.  Persons living in rural areas were poorer than those living in urban communities. Among the cultural groups, the Mayas were the poorest ethnic group at sixty-one point one percent. Statistics shared today by the SIB are concerning and have always been concerning, says Prime Minister John Briceno. 

Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “This has been a concern even when we were in government back between 1998 and 2008 we felt that whenever you’re doing a study on poverty you’re just looking on the issue of monetary terms and I think one of you brought it up that in many instances people have they have a chicken in their backyard, they have access to food and they work for their own they’re not necessarily a part of the formal economy. So by doing this I think we could have a more in-depth look not only an in-depth look as to the actual poverty in our country but it would also allow us to look at the actual indicators. There are seventeen indicators and from that we could see where we need to address what we need to work on to be able to improve the lives of our people so it’s not only about getting a job, access to the internet for instance, access to healthcare, water, you know all of these combined together can give you a better picture on the actual poverty in our country. One of the issues and I hope I don’t get into trouble by saying that is that there’s a lot of migration in the Toledo district. A lot of indigenous people constantly are coming into Belize in the south and then their children many of them when they get an education they leave the Toledo district and they go to work in Shrimp, they go to work in education, they work in construction and  then more people come in it’s almost like a revolving door. But we have to do more in the Toledo district and we have been doing a lot. I mean we have to have more streets, more roads, more access to farm lands, more access to health clinics and schools these are the things that will improve the lives of our citizens so the challenges are big, the other challenge is because culturally the indigenous people they tend to have a lot of small villages. For instance in Orange Walk we have probably a little over twenty villages, in the Toledo district we have about fifty five villages and in our villages are way bigger so it’s easier then for government to be able to provide the services as opposed to providing to fifty six villages. So these are some of the challenges but we recognize these challenges and have to do our best to be able to address them.”

Director General of the SIB, Diana Castillo-Trejo explained that the Multidimensional Poverty Index or MPI is a measure of poverty that takes into account multiple dimensions of deprivation that individuals and households may experience.

Diana Castillo-Trejo, Director-General, SIB: “What this is is a piece of statistics that looks at poverty at a broader level than just in terms of money. Normally we are used to measuring it in terms of money.  Does the household have enough money to meet its needs or not ? The MPI looks at poverty in a much broader sense by looking at different specific types of deprivations so different specific basic needs that are or are not met for the household and so what we did was we collected data to assess whether or not households were meeting seventeen basic needs represented by seventeen indicators and using those we were able to divide our households into those which are multidimensionally poor meaning that they have a certain number of accumulated deprivations one on top of the other that qualify them according to our classification as being multi dimensionally poor. Based on that we found that 35.7% of our population lives in households that we classify it as multidimensionally poor. It is a different measure from monetary poverty and what that tells us is that when we look just in monetary terms we have a large number of households perhaps that are money poor but when we look broader we look at broader at basic services, we look rather at types of assets that households have, their characteristics of their households we find that the incidence of poverty or the percent of households is a bit less than what we see in monetary terms. So these two measures go together, one of them tells us how households are doing in terms of the amount of money that they need to meet certain needs the other one tells us whether or not they are actually meeting these needs or these needs are being met for them.”

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