According to a study by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) in cooperation with the Mexican government and released last month during a media conference in Mexico City, more than 20 million Mexican children and adolescents – nearly 53 percent of the under-18 population – live in poverty, and more than 4 million of them in extreme poverty.

The most recent report on poverty and social rights of 2010-2012, which is produced every two years by the Unicef and the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (Coneval), reveals that of the 40 million Mexican children under 17, 53.8 percent live in poverty, and of these, 4.7 million (12.1 percent) live in abject poverty.

While the study indicated that 6.4 million Mexican youngsters (16.4 percent of the overall population in this age bracket) are not poor and do not face any situation of food vulnerability, 22.4 percent (8.8 million children) live in vulnerable situations and suffer social deprivation.

Another 7.5 percent (2.9 million Mexican youths) are subject to vulnerable incomes.

Although in recent years child poverty has declined in Mexico – mainly due to the implementation of social programs aimed at helping underprivileged youth, such as the nationwide Cruzada Nacional Contra el Hambre campaign – children still represent a larger per capita share of the nation’s poor than other age groups.

“The economy in this country has grown well over the past years,” said Coneval executive secretary Gonzalo Hernández Licona during the press conference. “But this fact does not always mean that the poor are better off.”

Erika Strand, Unicef’s chief of social policy in Mexico, pointed out that the study also found that one in four children under 1 year old are not covered by the universal health insurance plan Seguro Popular.

“Children under age five are considered the group with the highest incidence of poverty compared to other groups, including teenagers and adults,” she said.

According to a press release from the UN’s official website, approximately 14 percent of Mexican children under five years of age are stunted, meaning they are slowed in their development, often as a result of malnutrition.

The rate is even higher in rural areas and reaches nearly 33 percent among children in indigenous communities.

The Unicef report revealed that the occurrence of childhood poverty in Mexico is closely related to geography, family and their parents’ level of education.

The majority of children who live in abject poverty live in rural areas located in the south of the country.

More than 4 million Mexican children live in extreme poverty

According to the study, the Mexican states with the highest child food-insecurity rates are clustered in the south of the country, and tend to be sparsely populated.

These include Chiapas, with 81.7 percent of youngsters under age 18 living below the poverty line, Guerrero, with 77.1 percent, Puebla, with 72.5 percent, and Oaxaca, with 66.9 percent.

In contrast, the states with the lowest incidence of childhood poverty were located in the north of the country.

They include the states of Nuevo León, with just 30 percent of minors living below the poverty line, Coahuila, with 33.2 percent, and Baja California Sur, with 33.7 percent.

In a country plagued by obesity, is it logical that more than half Mexico’s children go to bed hungry at night or worrying about where their next meal will be coming from?

Source: http://www.theyucatantimes.com/2014/05/more-than-20-million-mexican-children-and-adolescents-live-in-poverty-more-than-4-million-in-extreme-poverty/

A new ECLAC report warns of a dire future for the country’s youth if cycle of poverty and deficient education not broken.

Out of  38.9 million Mexican young people from 12 to  29 years of age, six million live in a situation of indigence, while 44.9 percent live in some type of poverty, says a report just issued by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

The analysis points out that 70 percent of Mexican youth lack access to social security, 30 percent to health services, and 15.3 percent to adequate educational opportunities. More than half the country’s unemployed population falls into this age group. The unemployment rate for youth rose to 7.7 percent in 2013, much higher than the 4.6 percent national average.   In Chiapas, Guerrero and Puebla, more than 60 percent of all young people lived in poverty in 2012.

On the contrary, less than 30 percent of the youth in Nuevo Leon, Coahuila and Sonora faced this problem.  Although 30 percent of all young people now have a high school education, 20 percent more than their parents generation, 60 percent face the same limits that their parents did.

The report says that only 15 percent of the youth studied for at least one semester in a university in 2013 and that 50 percent of all adolescents from 15 to 17 years of age did not attend high school or technical school.  With regards to budget allocations for youth, the study shows that the Mexican government reduced its public spending on education from US$2,417 per young person in 2000 to US$2,112 in 2012.

As for social development in Mexico, the document highlights the lack of reflection on issues of overcoming poverty and describes state programs as “rigid,”  “standardized,” and “predefined,” in the face of the changing nature of the life conditions of young people.

The report points to the need for a greater and more efficient investment in the future of the country’s youth in order to overcome the disparity between rhetoric and action.