The latest survey of living conditions in Ecuador conducted by the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC) reveals that, from 2006 to 2014, poverty rates in the country fell by 32.6%, ie near 1.3 million people stopped being poor.
The survey is the second biggest carried out in Ecuador, after the Census between November 2013 and October 2014, on 28,846 households across the country, both in urban and rural areas, and this was the first time it was done taking into account the 24 provinces.
According to José Rosero, executive director of INEC, the purpose of the survey was to "measure different aspects and dimensions of welfare and quality of life of Ecuadorians", on the main issues, such as, health, education, access to public services, housing, among others.
This is the sixth survey carried out in the country and shows that extreme poverty in Ecuador stood at 5.7%, representing a reduction of 55.4% (approximately 900,000 people) between 2006 and 2014. This reduction is greater than that recorded between 1999 and 2006 where extreme poverty was reduced by only 31.6%.
The figures on poverty (based on saving policies of families), in 2014, it reached 25.8% nationally; in rural areas, 47.3%, while in urban it reached 15.5% compared to 38.3%, 61.5% and 24.9% in 2006 respectively.
The main provinces where extreme poverty was reduced in the last eight years were Guayas (45.1%), Manabi (41.1%), Carchi (40.2%) and Pichincha (38.6%).
According to the survey, in cases of inequality between 2006 and 2014, the Gini coefficient of consumption fell 4.8 points, from 0.455 to 0.408. The GINI coefficient is the index measuring inequality among population, in a range of 0-1 (0 corresponds to perfect equality).
In urban areas the GINI coefficient between 2006 and 2014 dropped from 0.43 to 0.39 and in rural areas decreased from 0.397 to 0.353.
Rosero indicated that structural poverty is measured according to the Unsatisfied Basic Needs dataset in citizens.
Poverty due to Unsatisfied Basic Needs was reduced by 31, 1 percent between 2006 and 2014 by going from 52 percent to 35, 8 percent, which represents approximately 1, 6 million people that came out of poverty. Poverty reduction due to Unsatisfied Basic Needs reached only 18, 7 percent in 1998 and 2006.
Unsatisfied Basic Needs poverty reduction between 2006 and 2014 in the rural area is of 22, 2 percent while in the urban area it is 35, 3 percent.
Therefore, structural poverty reduction complements what was observed in poverty by consumption and it reduced chronic poor (defined as poor by consumption rates and Unsatisfied Basic Needs dataset) to half between 2006 and 2014 at a national level.
The official of the National Secretariat for Planning and Development (Senplades), Pabel Muñoz, who also participated in the survey results presentation, explained that such reduction rate has to do with policies implemented by the National Government.
“Policies of free education access, especially in rural areas, have allowed reducing poverty rates. The moment in which a family stops paying contributions in terms of education, it is taking that money to improve family consumption,” Muñoz affirmed.
The official also emphasized the fact that the survey results “reflect the construction of a different development model, where efficient public policies are applied not only to reduce poverty but also to reach equality and promote equity and social justice.”