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Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Venezuela: Poverty reduced but inequality increased

CARACAS ( Associated Press) — 53.3% of Venezuelans live below the extreme poverty line, representing a decrease of 14.7 percentage points compared to 2021, a study released Thursday by one of the South American country’s main universities said. indicating an increase in social growth. Inequality Paradox.

The National Survey of Living Conditions, conducted by the Institute for Economic and Social Research of the Andrés Bello Catholic University (UCAB), estimated that 50% of households experienced an improvement in their monetary income.

The survey, conducted across 2,218 households between last July and August, also measured so-called multidimensional poverty – which, in addition to income, includes other variables such as the many deficiencies faced by households in areas such as education, health – and found that For the first time in seven years, it has increased from 65.2% in 2021 to 50.5% in 2022.

Improvements in income and employment are key factors in reducing poverty, explained sociologist Luis Pedro Espaa, director of the UCAB Poverty Project,

According to the results of the study, however, the level of inequality in Venezuela was emphasized.

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Spain commented that in a household of two people with a good social status and economic activity, monthly incomes average more than $1,000, but in households with extreme poverty the income barely reaches $16, according to the sample.

“Poverty has more to do with social and infrastructure, such as housing, education and services; Although economic prominence continues”, the sociologist clarified. Well, the cost of these items has increased significantly in the last 12 months.

According to the sample, compared to the previous year, there has been an increase in households without food insecurity, rising from 11.8% in 2020 to 21.9% in 2022.

This reality was first diagnosed by the United Nations World Food Programme, which maintains that the majority of Venezuelans have a poor diet. This situation has been attributed to the lack of basic food items in Venezuela for years, but now the root cause is high prices determined by their cost in dollars, which has reduced the purchasing power of millions of Venezuelans.

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The minimum wage in Venezuela, which most workers receive, is less than $13 a month, while the median income in the private sector, which has improved in recent years, is about $101 a month. A liter of corn oil costs $3.9, so buying it is a luxury not many people can afford.

Four-digit hyperinflation hit the national and domestic economy for four years, causing the prices of goods and services to rise by more than 50% per month, but the inflation index began to ease in 2020.

This slowdown is, in part, attributable to the Nicolas Maduro administration’s decision to relax exchange controls in force since 2003, allowing free circulation of the dollar from May 2019.

Inflation is projected to close at 125% in 2022.

The government, the Central Bank of Venezuela and the National Institute of Statistics have stopped publishing official figures on inflation, economic growth, poverty, and other economic indicators from time to time since 2016.

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