Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steven Blackett (left), speaking to IDB’s General Manager – Caribbean Country Department, Therese Turner-Jones, during the presentation of the Barbados Survey of Living Conditions.

INCREASE IN POVERTY

THERE has been an increase in the number of Barbadians living in poverty, over the past seven years.

This is one of the findings that came out of the 2016-2017 Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) funded Barbados Survey of Living Conditions, which was presented yesterday at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

According to IDB’s Project Leader and Economics Senior Specialist, Dieter Beuermann Mendoza, since the last Living Conditions Survey was conducted in Barbados in 2010, more Barbadians have moved from “extreme poverty” to “non-extreme poverty”.

“We see that a significant share of households have left extreme poverty situation, but they have increased their non-extreme poverty situation. So former extreme poor have migrated to be non-extreme poor, which gives a rise in non-extreme poverty,” he said.

“However, if we add the two types of poverty, we do see an increase in overall poverty of 2.4 per cent… So overall, poverty is rising because extreme poor are going into non-extreme poor and the vulnerable have fallen into poverty,” Beuermann Mendoza added.

Delivering opening remarks at the event, Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steven Blackett, noted that while having a social contract to improve the social welfare amongst the poor and vulnerable, Government’s policy makers and social analyst, readily welcome the findings of the Survey.

Blackett said that due to challenges with data collection, only two extensive studies into the extent and nature of poverty have been conducted in Barbados.
“It is of paramount importance that the conduct of surveys on poverty becomes a more regular occurrence. This will reduce the gaps in data available on poverty and living conditions.

“I think that we can all appreciate, that the only way to affectively address a problem is to fully grasp its nature and intensity,” Blackett said.

The Minister, also explained that one of the most critical components of national development is increased availability of precise data on social indicators, to guide the design of evidence based policy, which will reduce inequality, through the expansion of human capability.

Director of the Barbados Statistical Service, Aubrey Browne, said the Survey was a comprehensive assessment of persons’ living circumstances.
He explained that it sought to obtain a wide coverage of the main indicators of living conditions, among the resident non-institutional population of Barbados.
The coverage included: education, health, fertility, early childhood development, labour supply and farming, emigration, personal safety and migration, consumption patterns, income and expenditures.

“A larger supply of areas in each parish was selected, compared to the previous survey that was conducted in 2010, to achieve greater precision of the survey estimates at the parish level.

“Two hundred and eighty-eight areas were sampled in the recent survey, compared to 120 areas in the 2010 survey. However, a smaller number of households were chosen within each selected area (about ten households),” Browne explained. (AH)

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