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The 2005 Survey of Living Conditions has reported that poverty in Jamaica declined last year by 2.1 percentage points.
“The data revealed that in 2005, there was a reduction over the 2004 survey from 16.9 to 14.8 per cent,” said Thalia Burnett, Manager of Policy Research Unit at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ).
Mrs. Burnett, who was revealing the contents of the report yesterday (Oct. 4) at the PIOJ’s offices in Kingston, said that for the purposes of the study, the poverty line for 2005 was put at $63,717.17 per annum for an individual and $240,816.57 for a family of five.She credited the reduction in poverty to the growth in economy, government policies and the inflow of remittances.
According to the report, the percentage of households receiving remittances increased from 46.2 per cent in 2004 to 53.8 per cent in 2005.
The survey also showed that Jamaica’s population was undergoing substantive changes, with the population from 0-14 years declining, while the working group, ages 15 to 64 and the dependent elderly, age 65 and more, are increasing.
“In terms of the demographic statistics, it was found that 32 per cent of the population were children between the ages of 0 and 14 years; 58 per cent of the population were from the working age group and 9.9 per cent were the elderly,” said Mrs. Burnett.
“Compared with findings of the previous years, there has been a steady decline in the proportion of children,” she added.
She reasoned that the likely explanation for the change in the age structure was the reduction in both mortality and fertility rates.
The survey also found that household size continued to decline at both national and regional levels. “Since 1970, there has been a declining trend from a large size of five and over to a small size of one to four persons,” she informed.
In addition, female-headed households are more concentrated in the poorer consumption quintiles, and larger than those headed by males in all regions. Female-headed households comprised 46.3 per cent of the households surveyed, with the largest percentage found in the Kingston Metropolitan Area with 52.2 per cent.
In the meantime, the survey found that national real mean consumption increased by five per cent in 2005, with the main commodity group being food and beverages constituting 42 per cent; housing and household expenses 16 per cent. Transportation was the third highest commodity group.
“In the rural areas, there was a change in the order of ranking of the commodity group preferences, so they moved from food and beverages at 47.31 per cent, transportation 12.04 per cent, and then housing and household expenses,” Mrs. Burnett said.