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A Losing Battle; Combatting Poverty in Costa Rica

Costa Rica News – While many Costa Ricans are enjoying the vacations that come along with Semana Santa in Costa Rica there are many others that are just fighting to survive as they live below or at the poverty line in this country. 

costa-rica-poverty 1There are 1,096,000 Costa Ricans living in poverty. 610,000 of them receive some government  benefit from the 14 major state-run programs providing aid, but still almost half a million people don’t get any support.

The programs provide food, housing, scholarships, pensions, and care centers for kids and seniors. The purpose behind the programs is to help families improve their lives and escape the condition of poverty.

The country dedicated almost 2.5% of its GDP to combating poverty. This is one of the highest investments in the cause throughout Latin America, but no one knows how much of that money actually gets to the poor. The government estimate is that by 2013, ¢ 491,221,000 were making it to the hands of the poor. That would mean that in the last three years the country’s investment in poverty grew by 21.3%.

Despite the investment, the poverty rate has remained at 20% and the dire need category at 6%. Some possible causes for this include lack of coordination and duplication among the programs and lack of a comprehensive database. Another factor is that the most vulnerable often live far outside of cities and don’t know about the programs.


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