Published On: Fri, May 23rd, 2014

CBS presents the first results on income distribution and poverty, based on the Census 2011

StatisticsWILLEMSTAD – Once again the Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS) publishes new information from Census 2011 on its website. These are the first results of the 2001 Census regarding income distribution and poverty.

A method to analyze the distribution of income in Curacao is the so-called quintiles approach. All households are arranged in the order of high-income to low into five groups of equal numbers of households, called quintile-onset groups. Each quintile contains 20 percent of all households. Each quintile group of the total income of all households is calculated together. Subsequently, the proportion of each quintile group in the total of all income is calculated over all groups.

In 2011, 20 percent of households with the lowest income receive only 5 percent of the total income of all households. By contrast, 20 percent of households with the highest income receive 48 percent of total income in Curacao. The group of wealthy households hence has 9.5 times as much income as the group of poor households. This figure is the so-called wealth-poverty indicator. In 1992 this indicator was 10.6 and in 2001 its value was 11.4.

In comparison to some other countries in the world is this so-called wealth-poverty indicator as follows: Mexico 10.8 (2010), Suriname 17,8 (1999), Colombia 20.1 (2010), Netherlands 5,1 (1999) and the U.S. 8.5 (2000). Curacao takes a middle position internationally on income inequality.

Based on the figures from the quintiles analysis, it can be concluded that both the poor and the rich groups had a better position in the past 10 years, while the middle-income groups have surrendered income.

According to the Census of 2011, 25.1 percent of households are living below the poverty line. In 2001 it was 33.7 percent and in 1992 it was 36.8 percent. Yet the problem of poverty based on the indicators used here in Curacao remains high. Still a quarter of households are characterized as poor.

There is a clear relationship between certain socio-economic factors and the risk of falling below the poverty line. One may in this context refer to risk factors.

Households in which a woman is the head are twice as likely (35% versus 17%) to be poor than when a man is at the head.

In particular, a household whose head is seeking employment is at risk (67.4%) of ending up in poverty. Also in case the head of the household is not economically active - in this group there many parents - there is a greater chance (36.3%) to be below the poverty line.

Other vulnerable groups are households where the head is dependent on a disability income source and under state pension. Respectively 46.6% (AOV) and 82.3% (including state benefits) of these households fall below the poverty line.

Households whose head have only attended a grammar school education have 41.9% chance to end up below the poverty line. A better training reduces the risk of poverty dramatically.

The complete report of these first results on income distribution and poverty in Curaçao is available on the CBS website. Soon there will be a more comprehensive Census Publication appearing on this topic.

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