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Mexican government adopts multidimensional methodology to measure poverty

• The new system measures the level of deprivation of human social rights like health, education, food and social security

Mexico, Federal District, 10th of December 2009 - Mexican government adopts officially a multidimensional methodology to measure poverty. Gonzalo Hernández Licona, General Secretary of CONEVAL, the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policies, presented today the new measurement system, which represents a major breakthrough in the way Mexican government describes and measures poverty.

The new measurement, which will be used officially from now on, includes not only incomes data but also indicators of the level of fulfillment of social human rights established by the Federal Law for Social Development, including health, education, social security, food, characteristics of the housing and its services, and level of social cohesion.

Mexico is the first country in the region to adopt such a multidimensional measurement system, consistent with the vision and methodology used by UNICEF for the design of its poverty and disparities global report.

According to the new calculations, 44.2 %  of the population lives in poverty: 33.7 % (36 million people) in moderate poverty and 10.5 % (11.2 millions) in extreme poverty. For the first time, the methodology enables to disaggregate data by population groups, including children and adolescents under 18, indigenous people as well as according to the states they live in. The measurement confirms that children and adolescents are disproportionally affected by poverty and deprivation of their basic social rights: 53.1 % of them live in poverty (44.2 % of the population in general).

“With the adoption of this new system, national authorities embrace a rights based approach to measure poverty. It enables to better understand the way poverty and deprivation of basic human rights affect disproportionally children and adolescents and thus offers an effective tool to design appropriate social policies” declared Susana Sottoli, UNICEF Representative in Mexico.

“As an international organization, a substantive part of our work in a country like Mexico is to work together with leading institutions like CONEVAL in order to generate knowledge and analysis that helps placing children’s rights at the very center of the social policy agenda”, she added.

The design of the new system has received support from UNICEF through the technical assistance of Professor David Gordon, Research Fellow in Social Justice at the University of Bristol, United Kingdom, who has contributed together with other national and international experts, to the development of the methodology. This support is part of a broad cooperation agreement signed last June by UNICEF and CONEVAL oriented to the inclusion of children’s rights in the analysis of national indicators. It also aims at measuring the impact of the financial crisis on children and adolescents and developing joint diagnosis and public policies recommendations for the protection of their rights.

For further information please contact:
Mónica Sayrols, msayrols@unicef.org, UNICEF México
Tamar Hahn, thahn@unicef.org, UNICEF Latin America and the Caribbean

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.


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