JSLC Reports Low Poverty Rate


According to the 2006 Survey of Living Conditions (JSLC), the country’s poverty rate declined from 14.8 per cent in 2005 to 14.3 per cent the following year.
Speaking at the launch of the report, at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) Grenada Way office on February 20, Director General of the Institute, Dr. Wesley Hughes pointed out that, “no indicator has garnered more attention than this indicator, which is the lowest it has been in all the years of this publication.” The JSLC, a joint publication of the PIOJ and the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), also indicated a number of other positive trends for the standard of living in Jamaica, in the areas of housing improvement, education and income. According to the document, there was an advancement of universal enrolment of children up to 11 years, with the daily average attendance of 72.1 per cent in primary schools and 73.6 per cent in secondary institutions.
There was a narrowing of the gap in per capita expenditure of female-headed and male-headed households. In addition, there was an increase in mean per capita consumption; a decline in the age-dependency ratio, from 72.7 per cent in 2005 to 69.5 in 2006; and smaller household sizes, with 46.7 per cent of households headed by women.
Improvement in the Housing Quality Index stood at 67.3 per cent, with 60.5 per cent of households owning the units in which they live, and 67.8 per cent receiving piped water.
For the review period, 12.2 per cent of the population reported some form of illness, with 46.6 pr cent of these being a chronic disease. Immunization coverage for the 0-59 months old remained at more than 90 per cent, except for the recently introduced Hepatitis B and Hib vaccines.
Dr. Hughes noted that while the report outlines the achievements relative to the previous year, it also acknowledges that there are challenges that the nation still faces. These, he said, are in the category of the most vulnerable segments of the population, such as the poor, the rural, females, and the elderly.
This segment of the population, he said, continues to exhibit certain tendencies relative to the general population, such as higher age-dependency ratios, larger household sizes; lower levels of enrolment at the upper levels of education; lower levels of school attendance at both the primary and secondary levels; and lower levels of seeking health care.
“These areas suggest that interventions need to be more effectively targeted, so as to address these perennial, year-to-year concerns,” Dr. Hughes said.

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