JIS News

Director of the Social, Manpower and Planning Division of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Pauline Knight has said that recent findings have demonstrated “the importance that the poor attach to education”.
Indicating that the findings were “quite interesting”, she pointed out that a survey of the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA), conducted by the PIOJ, revealed that the poor in the capital city spent significantly more on educational expenses as opposed to the non-poor population.
Mrs. Knight was speaking at a recent two-day forum titled, ‘Partnerships for the Alleviation of Poverty’, at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge at the University of the West Indies (UWI). The forum was hosted by the Kingston Restoration Company, in collaboration with the University of Technology and UWI’s Centre for Population, Community and Social Change.
According to the data culled from the 2002 survey, the expenditure pattern of the poor indicated that they spent 12 per cent of their earnings on education, as opposed to the non-poor whose expenses on education amounted to only seven per cent.
Mrs. Knight pointed out that there were also substantial differences that were evident in the amounts spent on housing and household expenses: 11.75 per cent for the poor, 25.1 per cent for the non-poor; food and beverages: 47 per cent for the poor, 37.7 per cent for the non-poor; and fuel and household supplies: 9.7 per cent for the poor, 4.3 per cent for the non-poor.
The differences in these expenditures, Mrs. Knight said, were most likely attributed to the fact that the poor had larger households to tend to, in comparison to those who were not affected by poverty.”Looking at household characteristics, the size of poor households is considerably larger than that of the non-poor and the large percentage of these are children,” she said.
“The dependency ratio, which includes persons of old age and the very young is much higher for the poor, and that for every 100 persons of working age, there are 81 dependents for the poor while for non-poor, it is only 57 dependents,” Mrs. Knight added. Turning to the housing quality for those affected by poverty and those who were not, she informed the gathering that 93 per cent of the poor had water piped into their dwellings, compared to 99 per cent of the non-poor, while 87 per cent of the poor had water closets and 97 per cent of the non-poor had the same.
For electricity, the PIOJ Director said the survey showed that 97 per cent of the non-poor had electricity in their homes in comparison to the poor’s 75 per cent.
Mrs. Knight noted, however, that although electricity signified the widest gap in housing amenities between the two groups, “probably a lot of the poor have stolen electricity”.
The KMA survey, which is the most current available, revealed that the poverty group in Kingston for the 2002 year period stood at 10.4 per cent, with the average poor person making $47,000 per year, which roughly translated to $180 per day.

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