First Look

Jamaica’s poverty rate increased marginally during 2010



Planning Institute of Jamaica | 2012-12-19 00:00:00

The impact of the global economic recession on the local economy resulted in declines in a number of social areas during 2010 according to the Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions 2010 (JSLC). Other events which adversely affected key sectors in the economy during the year included the state of emergency between May and June, and heavy rains in September due to Tropical Storm Nicole.  At the same time, the country experienced a marginal increase in the poverty rate to 17.6 per cent relative to 16.5 per cent in 2009. This represented a smaller increase compared with the increase of 4.2 per cent for the 2008 to 2009 period.

The findings revealed that all regions recorded an increase in poverty in 2010, Rural Areas, which has consistently recorded poverty rates substantially higher than those of the other regions, increased by 1.7 percentage points to 23.2 per cent. The prevalence of poverty in the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA) was 14.4 per cent compared with 12.8 per cent in 2009, while for Other Towns, the prevalence of poverty increased by 0.7 percentage point to 11.6 per cent. On average, the poor were further below the poverty line and there was a higher proportion of people further away from the poverty line or very poor relative to 2009.

The JSLC 2010 reported that roughly one-half of the sick or injured who sought health care did so exclusively at public health facilities compared with 42.3 per cent in 2009. Approximately, 25.8 per cent of the population reported having at least one chronic illness compared with 26.0 per cent in 2009. Similarly, the number of persons with health insurance coverage remained relatively unchanged at approximately 20.0 per cent. Those with health insurance were primarily in the KMA, in the wealthiest quintile, female and between 40 and 64 years.

Tertiary enrolment, recorded increases in both the 17-18 age group and 19-24 age group by 3.1 percentage points and 0.6 percentage point, respectively.  The country continued to enjoy near universal enrolment at the early childhood and primary levels and up to grade 9.

In the area of social welfare, 53.8 per cent of the households that applied to the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) —the government’s social safety-net programme —had received benefits over time. This was 2.8 percentage points more than in 2009. Beneficiary households in Rural Areas and Other Towns accounted for 57.1 per cent and 55.9 per cent, respectively, of applicant households in those regions.

The 2010 Report also included an additional module on Early Childhood Development. Corporal punishment continued to be the main disciplinary method used by most caregivers, although the proportion of caregivers using this method decreased compared with 2008 (the last time the module was fielded).  Children from the poorest quintile experienced more corporal and psychologically aggressive methods and fewer non-corporal methods compared to the wealthier quintiles.




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