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Costa Rica Changes Focus on Fight Against Poverty

Costa Rica News – The Costa Rica government announced that in 2015, they will be implementing a new index, developed by the University of Oxford, which will comprehensively measure a family’s degree of poverty on a “multidimensional” level, rather than just looking at their average income, as a tool against extreme poverty.

costa rica poverty 1Other variables which will be incorporated into the index are: access to public services and whether they are satisfied with the attention paid to their basic needs, such as education, livelihood, employment and health, among others.

In reality, the percentage of poor homes was measured at 20.7% this year, according to the results of the National Home Survey in 2013. It focused on 285,467 homes which were unable to make sufficient income in order to cover their basic needs. From this total, they found that 6.4% were suffering from extreme poverty.

The second Vice-President and rector from the social sector, Ana Helena Chacón, said that even though a family’s income will still form the basis of poverty measures, the new tool will enable better discussion between organisations from both the social and economic sectors about the fight against extreme poverty.

The President of the Republic, Luís Guillermo Solís, confirmed that the Government’s intentions are to make a significant impact on the poverty indexes through this new instrument, thanks to an alliance with Oxford University.

Carlos Alvarado, Social Minister, said that the instrument was obtained through links with the University, and that it is hoped it will eradicate the practice of generating families’ economic dependence through transfers to the State.

“This could give monthly assistance to families, but even then it won’t necessarily get them out of poverty, as it still won’t cover employment, education and living needs”, he explained.

Alvarado added that the tool has already given results in other Latin American countries, such as Chile.

The leader noted that the country hasn’t updated the way in which it measured extreme poverty in over 20 years.

That said, the Government hasn’t clarified by what percentage this new methodology will reduce poverty and extreme poverty.

Translated by Leah Hendre from La Nacion

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