Study key to reducing poverty
GOVERNMENT WILL SOON be able to map out a detailed poverty-reduction strategy as a result of the just-released draft of the Country Assessment of Living Conditions (CALC) document.
The document was presented in the House of Assembly yesterday by Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steve Blackett.
The draft document, which Blackett said was Barbados’ first comprehensive living conditions study, was funded by Government and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and was undertaken in 2010 by the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) at the University of the West Indies (UWI).
In Blackett’s detailed report on the document yesterday, he said the survey had found that the average per capita indigent line for Barbados was $3 970 while the overall poverty line stood at $7 861, with 9.1 per cent of persons and 6.9 per cent of households residing under the indigent line.
It was also found that the vulnerability line was $9 826 per capita per annum, and comprised some 2.8 per cent of households and 10.4 per cent of individuals.
Blackett said the research further found that 19.3 per cent of Barbadian individuals in 15 per cent of national households had an income below the poverty line; while the degree of inequality which speaks to the distribution of income in the society was 0.4 per cent, where “zero” represents perfect equality and “one” is perfect inequality.
“We can see therefore that the distribution of income in Barbados tends more to the side of equality. Despite the economic recession, there is still an equitable distribution of income in the island,” Blackett told the Chamber.
Blackett also noted that in terms of the spatial distribution of poverty across the island, the CALC had found that the Greater Bridgetown, outer urban and northern rural and eastern areas of Barbados had an above-average number of poor people.
The minister added that poor households contained an average of one person more than their non-poor counterparts, with an average of 2.3 children, versus non-poor households with 1.5 children. Poor households were also found to be more overcrowded than non-poor ones, with 11 per cent of poor households being overcrowded as opposed to three per cent of non-poor households.
“Inter-generational poverty continues to be the scourge of Barbadians’ development,” added Blackett.
Noting that a number of other activities would be undertaken to ensure that the final report is reflective of wide input from civil society, the minister said discussion on CALC would follow via town hall meetings and culminate with a national consultation, leading to Government instituting a detailed poverty-reduction strategy. (RJ)