Urban poverty and segregation at Christmas

In the previous column, he explained the phenomenon of migration that occurs at the popular level. Urban poverty is the type of poverty that occurs in cities. This occurs due to the growth of cities, which encompasses rural territories and suburbs with lower levels of income.

The country has a qualitative deficit of 61 percent, that is, one million 542 thousand 639 households that have difficulties in one or several elements, in the quality of residential materials (floor, ceiling, walls) access to drinking water, sanitary service and property rights.

The records come from the comparative study of the state of housing in Central America, carried out by Habitat for Humanity, the Latin American Center for Competitiveness and Sustainable Development (Clacds) of Incae.

Rural poverty can be assimilated to absolute poverty, and in many countries it affects large numbers of people who are barely able to guarantee their physical survival. “It is a state of deep deprivation in which citizens do not have guaranteed access to basic goods: food, education, health, housing” (Alicia Ziccardi).

In Guatemala, most of the problems that detract from the quality of the houses are the materials with which they are made, the floor or, in some cases, there is no one. This item reaches 29 percent, and is the highest.

One of the main challenges faced in Guatemala consists of raising the productivity of the Guatemalan, to help solve the problems of poverty and underdevelopment. Therefore, it is important to have a social policy that allows the subsidiary role of the State for vulnerable groups, as well as that of the municipalities.

The low income of the central government (11 percent of GDP on average in recent years and an estimated 10.8 percent in 2021) limits the capacity for public investment and restricts both the quality and coverage of basic public services, from education and health, even access to water, which largely explains the lack of progress in development and the large social gaps, lagging behind the rest of Central America, where “the light of Jesus and the shadow of poverty is living the festivities Christmas in one of the most difficult years in recent history, facing the challenge of the pandemic and the still open wounds linked to natural disasters ”(LAC).

“The Church has been on the side of the poor, says Fr Giampiero De Nardi, a Salesian missionary for nine years in Guatemala, one of the poorest nations on the American continent” (Vatican News).

Chronic childhood malnutrition (and stunting) affects 47 percent of all children under the age of 5, 58 percent of indigenous children, and 66 percent of children in the lowest income quintile.

The COVID-19 pandemic ended three decades of economic growth in Guatemala. Still, the country experienced one of the smallest GDP contractions in 2020 in LAC (-1.5 percent) and economic activity recovered to pre-pandemic levels during the first quarter of 2021, supported by a record inflow of remittances. Extreme poverty is the level of people who cannot cover the cost of minimum food consumption. The extreme poverty line represents the cost of acquiring the minimum 2,246 calories.


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