The latest report on poverty from the National Statistics Agency, INEGI, looks like good news for Mexico’s poorest people but, sadly, this is only a mirage, based on a change in the measurement methods used.
The 2015 edition of INEGI’s Survey of Socioeconomic Conditions showed an overall real increase of 11.9% in household earnings, with an increase of over 30% in some states. According to the report, Mexico’s poor are richer by a third compared to last year, a change that some politicians will no doubt claim is the direct result of their effective policies.
Social activists were stunned by the claims of poverty reduction and Mexico’s National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (CONEVAL), which measures poverty levels using INEGI’s data, said the changes by the statistics institute were not credible.
According to Jonathan Heath, an independent economic researcher in Mexico City, Inegi is claiming that the previous methods overestimated poverty levels, but the change in methodology, without public consultation, “raises suspicion.”
Quite apart from the misleadingly positive spin on numbers, the change in methodology makes it completely impossible to compare current poverty rates with the rates for previous years.
- The pattern of severe poverty within Mexico (Jul 2014)
- Multidimensional Poverty in Mexico: How severe is poverty in Mexico? (Jul 2014)
- Extreme poverty declined between 2010 and 2012 (Feb 2014)
- Poverty on the rise in some states in Mexico (Jan 2014)
- Trends in income distribution in Mexico: are the poor getting poorer? (Feb 2011)
- The measurement of poverty: the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) (Sep 2011)