Poverty rate in Guatemala

in Percent

Guatemala has one of the highest poverty rates in Latin American thanks to its unequal distribution of wealth and a rapid population, regardless its highest GDP in Central America.


 More than 75 percent of the national population live below the poverty line and this is even more severe among the rural and indigenous population. Guatemala’s income is one of the most unequal in the world with the wealthiest 10 percent owning nearly 50 percent of the national wealth and the poorest 10 percent owning less than 1 percent. Land also is concentrated to the few.


Guatemala has a population of over 12 million, half of which are under 18 with approximately 60 percent of the population between 6 and 18 living in extreme poverty. The high level of poverty and the lack of social support programmes means child labour is the only way of survival for many families. It is thought approximately 14,500 children live on the streets throughout the country with 4,500 street children located in and around Guatemala city.


Guatemala ranks among the worst for life expectancy (65 years at birth), infant mortality (40-45 per thousand) and maternal mortality (270 per 100,00). About two thirds of children live in poverty with 68 percent under six and 63 percent of all children under 18 living below the poverty line. Public spending on health has not increased sufficiently and public spending is not well targeted to the poor.


The poor do not have easy access to good health care as facilities are focused in the metropolitan areas. Then with the use of pesticides, the low availability of drinking water and waste disposal services in rural areas there is a raised occurrence of health problems.


Malnutrition of Guatemalan children is extremely high, among the worst in the world with an overall stunting rate of 44 percent of all children under five. Four fifths of malnourished children are poor, and higher among rural and indigenous children than urban or non – indigenous. Malnutrition mirrors the geographic and ethnic patterns of poverty, being higher among rural children than urban (51% vs 32%).


The poor are highly dependent on agriculture, some 87 percent, as small scale subsistence farmers or agricultural day labourers. Non Spanish speakers also face lower incomes.


Education is not a great priority for poor Guatemalans as children are needed to work to contribute to the family income. Only 44 percent of school age children attend classes and only 55.6 percent of the total population are literate. Child labour significantly inhibits the ability to attend school.


Although the indigenous represent 43 percent of the population they actually claim less than a quarter of the total income and consumption for the country. Likewise rural residents account for two thirds of the nation’s population but claim only a third of the total income and consumption. Inequality is higher however in urban areas than the rural.


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Kadmiel has 1 articles online

If you would like to learn more about Guatemalas History, Traditions, Culture, News, and expat living come and visit my website at http://guatemalangringo.com

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Poverty rate in Guatemala

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This article was published on 2010/03/18
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