Pandemic drove 3.8 million more Mexicans into poverty status: Coneval report 2018-2020

Photo: (Excelsior)

MEXICO CITY, (August 06, 2021).- The loss of income due to the pandemic and the reduction in coverage in health services pushed 3.8 million people into poverty between 2018 and 2020.

Coneval reported that the number of people living in poverty went from 51.9 to 55.7 million in the referred period, that is, from 41.9% to 43.9% of the population.

Extreme poverty was the lagging condition that grew the most, going from 8.7 to 10.8 million people. The lack of access to health services was the one that deteriorated the most, going from 16.2% to 28.2% of the population, an increase of more than 15 million people.

On this, the reduction of beneficiaries of Seguro Popular (52.1 million) to the Institute of Health for Well-being (34.1 million) stands out.

Photo: (Excelsior)

SOCIAL PROGRAMS SAVED 2.5 MILLION

Economic support from the federal government allowed 2.5 million people not to fall into poverty between 2018 and 2020.

Without this, the number of poor people would have been 58.2 million instead of the 55.7 million reported, estimated the Coneval.

The programs also had an impact on extreme poverty, since the 10.8 million people in this situation in 2020 could have been 12.8 million in their absence.

John Scott, a researcher at Coneval, said that, although social support has increased, the challenge is to improve targeting so that it really reaches the poorest.

Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Veracruz, the historically poorest states in the country, were within the group of 13 entities that saw the percentage of the population in poverty fall.

Photo: (Excelsior)

MORE POVERTY DUE TO DROPPING INCOME AND HEALTH

The loss of jobs due to the pandemic and the lower coverage of Insabi affected the population

The loss of income due to the covid-19 pandemic and the transition from Seguro Popular to Insabi, which reduced coverage in health services, pushed 3.8 million people into poverty between 2018 and 2020.

The National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (Coneval) reported that the number of people living in poverty went from 51.9 to 55.7 million in the referred period, which implied an increase of 2.0 percentage points, going from 41.9 to 43.9% of the population.

José Nabor Cruz, executive secretary of Coneval, explained in a conference that extreme poverty (people with an income below the food basket and with three or more social deprivations) was the lagging condition that grew the most, going from 8.7 to 10.8 million people, that is, from 7.0 to 8.5% of the population.

He commented that, due to the impact caused by the pandemic, the income dimension was one of the main responsible for the increase in poverty, since those who earn less than the cost of the so-called “Canasta Básica” (food basic products) went from 14.0 to 17.2% of the population, and those who earn less than the general poverty line (food and non-food) went from 49.9 to 52.8% of the population.

Photo: (Excelsior)

HEALTH SERVICES

The Coneval data showed that the lack of access to health services was the one that deteriorated the most since it went from 16.2 to 28.2% of the population, an increase of more than 15 million people.

With the changes made by the AMLO administration, there was an abrupt reduction of beneficiaries of the Seguro Popular (Popular Insurance) the figure went down from 52.1 to 34.1 million people that now have access to the INSABI (Health Institute for Well-being) stood out, which means that 18 million people with non-contributory health coverage.

Rosario Cárdenas, academic researcher at Coneval, stated that the data show that there were problems in the transition from Seguro Popular to Insabi, either because it covered a smaller population, and because it did not identify itself as a beneficiary, and that this affected the indicator of lack of health services.

But he commented that there were also factors that could have affected health coverage, such as the reconversion of the system towards covid care, which impaired the service for other areas and conditions; and also that, due to the pandemic, many more households have decided not to use health services for fear of contagion.

For this reason, Cárdenas urged to improve as quickly as possible the transition from Seguro Popular to Insabi so that the failures in coverage are corrected.

Other deficiencies that increased were educational lag (+0.9 percentage points) and food (+1.0 points), while those that decreased in two years were social security (-0.2 points), spaces and quality of services. housing (-1.8 points) and housing services (-1.5 points).

Photo: (Excelsior)

WITHOUT SOCIAL PROGRAMS IT COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE

The government’s social programs allowed an additional 2.5 million people not to fall into poverty between 2018 and 2020, since in their absence the number of poor would have been 58.2 million people, instead of the 55.7 million reported, estimated the Coneval.

With this, the population in poverty was 2.0 percentage points lower than that which would have been observed without social programs.

These programs also had an impact on extreme poverty, since the 10.8 million people in this situation in 2020 could have been 12.8 million in their absence.

John Scott, academic researcher at Coneval, commented that although social support has increased, the challenge is to improve targeting so that it really reaches the poorest in the country.

POOR STATES FREE PANDEMIC

Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero and Veracruz, the historically poorest states in the country, were among the select group of 13 entities that saw the percentage of the population in poverty fall amid the impact of the covid-19 pandemic, reported the Coneval.

These drops were 2.5, 2.7, 1.6 and 1.8 percentage points, respectively. These same states also saw their extreme poverty fall by 1.5, 1.0, 1.4 and 2.2 percentage points, respectively.

José Nabor Cruz commented that this reduction was due to the different dynamics of the pandemic in rural and urban areas, since in the former poverty fell (57.7% to 56.8%), but in the latter it increased from 36.8% to 40.1%. Quintana Roo, Baja California Sur and Tlaxcala were the most affected.

Source: Excelsior

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