By Aaron Humes: As reported last year, the most recent poverty assessment found that a majority – nearly 53 percent – lived below the poverty line in 2018; that is, they were unable to maintain a certain standard of living.
Today, the preliminary results of a further study by the Belize office of the United Nations Children’s Fund found two things: one, that the COVID-19 pandemic and reaction by government and private sector has negatively impacted the national poverty rate; and two, that there is an urgent situation related to that rise in poverty that affect those least able to respond – our nation’s children.
UNICEF statisticians analyzed both local and international data to project a current national poverty rate of 58 percent and a child poverty rate of 65 percent.
These figures were arrived at by considering both the children’s environment – as they cannot legally contribute to a household – and those rights of which they have been deprived by economic and social realities including education, health care, water, and sanitation access and security.
Generally, trends of the national rate are confirmed among children as well – poverty has more of a bite in rural areas and is higher among boys than girls. It also follows the world trend as a result of the pandemic.
The results are being presented to stakeholders in the Government and other sectors for their comments and suggestions before it is more widely published.