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New poverty study to be done in Belize in 2018

Belize's last Country Poverty Assessment (CPA) was released in 2010. Since then much has changed in Belizean society and economy and new study is necessary to provide a more updated status of the poverty situation in the country. Much has also remained the same.

With an ever increasing young population and major challenges in the economy, it is clear from anecdotal evidence that the poverty situation has not really improved. As a matter of fact there are appears to be greater inequality in the country. This however cannot be fully determined until a new Living Standards Measurement Survey (LSMS) is carried out. According to the UNICEF, on the occasion of the release of its Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), there are plans in the works to carry out a new LSMS in 2018.

Since the 2010 CPA is now updated, technocrats have had to depend on the MICS for a better sense of the standard of living among Belizeans. The MICS provides very useful social data in various sectors such as gender, water, poverty, nutrition among others. According to the recently release MICS5, there are approximately 58% of children living in multidimensional poverty and 32% in extreme poverty.

Overall, approximately 33.5% live below the poverty line with 16% of the population classified as indigent, meaning they lack sufficient financial resources to afford a basic food basket. Children living in the Cayo District suffer the highest rates of deprivation at 80%. These deprivations include inadequate housing and lack of potable water. As with the CPA 2010, Corozal and Toledo are the poorest districts in the country.

In order to try to address these social challenges the Government of Belize has developed the Growth and Sustainable Development Strategy (GSDS) as a road-map to achieving the SDGs. The implementation of the plan has met with the fate of most government plans, an extremely slow pace of implementation and limited coordination.

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