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.”
Ecuador is defined by diversity. From its melting-pot population – a blend of peoples with European, indigenous, African and other ancestries – to its geography – divided into three main topographical regions with markedly different climates (the temperate Coast, the icy Andean highlands and the Amazon jungle) – Ecuador is a nation where variety is the norm. It’s also a nation with a rich cultural history, having been one of the first Latin American nations to win independence from Spain, and a place where traditions and customs dating back to the pre-Colombian era are still practiced with reverence in agrarian villages and remote mountain hamlets.
OUR WORK IN ECUADOR
Ecuador’s capital, Quito, is a beautiful Spanish colonial city high in the Andes mountains, wrapped around the eastern slopes of the Pichincha Volcano. This historically rich city of approximately 1.5 million people contains many churches and chapels, convents, monasteries, plazas and museums. But it also has vast slums stretching from the historic old town to surrounding mountain ridges, where many poor Quito families struggle to survive. Each morning, thousands of men and women – mostly indigenous – make long treks into the wealthy areas of Quito to work as street vendors or domestic help, hoping to return at day’s end with enough money to feed their families. It is in these poor areas that Children International – Quito is working to make a difference.
Ecuador’s largest city, Guayaquil, is a vibrant seaport known internationally as “The Pearl of the Pacific.” A draw for tourists and business, Guayaquil is the driving force behind Ecuador’s economy. But there’s another side to Guayaquil … one that tourists seldom see; immense slums packed with ramshackle shacks and masses of desperately poor Guayaquil families scrounging by on little to nothing. Children International – Guayaquil has seven community centers spread throughout these impoverished neighborhoods, gradually filling some of Guayaquil’s most downtrodden communities with hope, health and opportunity for Ecuadorian children.
Fight child poverty in Ecuador, South America, by sponsoring a child through Children International
HARD TRUTHS ABOUT POVERTY IN ECUADOR
Over 27% of Ecuador’s population lives below the national poverty line.
Ecuador suffered a severe economic recession in 2000/2001 – the effects of which linger to this day – pushing tens of thousands of families into poverty. The recession led to Ecuador adopting the U.S. dollar as its national currency, which has had mixed results.
A strong link exists in Ecuador between ethnicity and economic well-being, with the indigenous minority making up a large majority of those living in poverty.
In recent decades, Ecuador has seen a wave of rural-to-urban migration – pushing the social services and infrastructures of Quito and Guayaquil to the brink of collapse.
CHALLENGES FOR CHILDREN IN POVERTY
The disparities in living conditions between the few wealthy and the masses of poor in the two Ecuadorian cities CI serves are almost beyond belief. Both cities face serious problems with overcrowding, infrastructure, and dire living conditions. Particularly in Quito’s remote slums, where treacherous mountain roads make even reaching children in need extremely difficult.
There are over 33,000 sponsored children and youth in Guayaquil and nearly 23,000 in Quito.
Sponsored children and youth receive vital assistance like free medical and dental care, nutritional support, educational assistance, family aid, clothing, school supplies and uniforms, shoes and more.
Seven CI community centers are spread throughout impoverished neighborhoods in Guayaquil, and five CI community centers operate in and around Quito.
Children International – Quito has a strong list of alliances with local organizations and universities to help serve the sponsored population. A recent Citi Foundation grant allowed CI to enroll hundreds of Quito teens in the Aflatoun program, providing training in social and financial education.
To help serve Children International – Guayaquil’s large population of sponsored families, the agency has enlisted and trained nearly 500 volunteers, including mothers, fathers and other relatives of sponsored children, former sponsored youth and other members of the community, who assist with program activities in their respective communities.