MEXICO CITY – Mexico had 52.4 million people classified as poor in 2018, a figure that was down from the 53.4 million people classified as poor in 2016 but still accounted for 41.9 percent of the population, the National Council for Evaluation of Social Development Policy (Coneval) said on Monday.
Some 9.31 million people, or 7.4 percent of the population, were classified as extremely poor in 2018, down from 9.37 million people, or 7.6 percent of the population, in 2016.
Despite the progress made in the past two years, the number of poor people in Mexico rose from 49.5 million to 52.4 million in the past decade.
Due to population growth, however, the percentage of poor people fell from 44.4 percent to 41.9 percent in the past decade.
In the past decade, according to the Coneval report, the percentage of the population living in poverty fell by 0.24 percentage points annually.
As far as extreme poverty goes, some 12.3 million people, or 11 percent of the population, were in this category in 2008, with the figure falling to 9.3 million people, or 7.4 percent of the population, today.
The state with the lowest poverty rate in 2018 was Nuevo Leon, an industrial state in northern Mexico, at 14.5 percent, while the southern state of Chiapas was the poorest, with a poverty rate of 76.4 percent.
Mexico City was home to 2.7 million poor people, who accounted for 30.6 percent of the capital’s population.
In the past decade, Mexico has experienced “an improvement in the social deficiency indicators at the national level and in the majority of the federal entities,” the Coneval report said.
The percentage of the population that did not complete their basic education fell from 21.9 percent in 2008 to 16.9 percent in 2018, while the percentage of the population without access to health services fell from 38.4 percent to 16.2 percent.
The lack of access to social security was reduced from 65 percent in 2008 to 57.3 percent in 2018, while food insecurity fell from 21.7 percent to 20.4 percent in 10 years.
The percentage of the population without housing dropped from 17.7 percent to 11.1 percent, while the percentage of the population lacking access to basic utility services at home fell from 22.9 percent to 19.8 percent, the report said.
The percentage of indigenous people living in poverty decreased from 76 percent in 2008 to 74.9 percent in 2018.
“Public policy should continue dealing with social deficiencies, especially by increasing family incomes and expanding social security coverage,” the Coneval report said.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has recently questioned the need for the Coneval, raising the possibility of dismantling the council as part of his austerity push.