24,000 Bajans Living In Poverty – Why?

Friends at Barbados Free Press:

I was frankly quite shocked to read the front page story in the Barbados Advocate today Poverty, Abuse Still a Problem and especially the conclusion ‘Around 8.7 per cent of Barbadians are living below the poverty line’.

If you take the current population of Barbados at around 278,000 persons that effectively means over 24,000 are ‘living below the poverty line’.

For a ‘developed country’, I find this statistic frightening.

I do not know how the United Nation’s Development Programme defines ‘poverty’ but there must to be comparable criteria.

I am just curious what the average BFP reader thinks?

Best Regards

Adrian Loveridge

27 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Politics & Corruption

27 responses to “24,000 Bajans Living In Poverty – Why?

  1. Jason

    BUT WE HAD GLORIOUS CRICKET FOR OUR HALF BILLION DOLLARS!

  2. Adrian2

    Wow who is this reporter? Pulling things of the internet but not fully understanding what they are reporting.
    ——————————————————————-
    Aubrey V Browne in his draft paper “Barbados’ experience with poverty surveys” UNSD WORKSHOP OF POVERTY STATISTICS IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN 10-13TH MAY 2004 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil says the following

    The first national survey on poverty conducted in Barbados was 1996-1997 Poverty survey. This was made possible through technical assistance provided by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). It was executed as a Poverty and living Conditions Module which was attached to the Department’s Continuous Labor Force Household Sample Survey (conducted quarterly), over a period of one year from August 1996 to June 1997.

    The per capita annual average poverty line was calculated as US$2,752 (bds $5,503), which is a mean value for the whole population. The poverty line represented the per capita YEARLY income, below which Barbadians can be considered as poor. Using this criteria, poverty in the island was estimated to affect 8.7% of the total households. This translate to approximately 7,000 households, living below this line or about 35,000 persons.”
    ———————————————————-
    This survey was presented in 1998; clearly it is time for a new survey to test the effects of all that the current government would have undertaken to combat poverty. If I am not mistaken Hammie Lah this year cited marginal success in his poverty alleviation campaign stating I believe that 10,000 person were lifted from poverty, I am subject to correction on this number.

  3. Adrian2

    Professor Andrew S. Downes in the preparation of this report. dated June 2001

    said the following:

    Only one study exists on the extent of poverty in Barbados [see Diez de Medina, 1997]. There have been estimates of head count poverty in Barbados produced by the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). For example, Psacharopoulos (1993) used a regression analysis interpolation procedure of available data for a series of countries on poverty and per capita income to state the proportion of the rural population in poverty increased from 10.5 per cent in 1980 to 21.1 per cent in 1989, while urban poverty moved from 4.9 per cent to 2.3 per cent over the same period. The IDB estimated that approximately 8 per cent of the population were living in poverty in the early 1990s [see Diez de Medina, 1997].

    To date, Diez de Medina’s study offers the most comprehensive analysis of poverty in Barbados. The essential conclusions of his study are as follows:

    The mean value of the poverty line for the whole population in 1996 was estimated at Bds $5,290 (US $2,645) per capita. The poverty line is based on the minimum requirement of a nutritional food basket plus selected non-food items. The poverty line varies from Bds $5,067 to Bds $5,431 depending on the age and sex composition of the household. Hence the poverty line was set at Bds $110 per week for each person.
    It was estimated that 12.7 per cent of all households were below the poverty line which represents 10,500 households or 20 per cent of the population in 1996.

  4. Jason

    Ya ya ya WE STILL HAD GLORIOUS CRICKET!!!!!

    Love that cricket!!!!!

    Love those flyovers!!!!!

    Love the Hotels and Resorts buildings!!!!

    WE HAD CRICKET!!!!

  5. notesfromthemargin

    I’d be curious to hear what the statistic is for other territories and countries. But yes the number does sound rather high.

  6. J. Payne

    Luckaly Barbados doan have it this bad (yet).

    Selling power-lines to make ends meet?
    Ofcourse this is probably exaggerated a bit to make more of a *story* out of it… But still.

    —-

    Article: Latin American scrap metal thieves profit at their poor countries’ expense

    The Associated Press
    Published: July 7, 2007
    http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/07/07/news/CB-GEN-Dominican-Copper-Crime.php


    In Brazil, vandals sawed off the arms of a bronze statue of soccer legend Pele last month, touching off a police search of scrap metal yards. Jamaican thieves ripped up tracks and cables from an old Kingston railway station. Haiti, the hemisphere’s poorest country, runs television ads imploring people to “stop cutting down wires.”

    In May, the South American nation of Guyana banned exports of scrap metal altogether to close the market for thieves who have taken the wiring out of traffic lights in the capital and towns along the Atlantic coast.

    Latin America and the Caribbean are not the only regions to be plagued by a spike in copper thefts.

    The United States has recently seen thieves snatching cooling coils from air conditioner units and pulling off daring thefts from farms and construction sites. Last month in Fort Wayne, Indiana, thousands of dollars worth of copper gutters were stripped from a church in the middle of the night.

    But if metal thefts are costly in the developed world, they can be disastrous to the already-vulnerable economies of poor countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

    The vandalism has devastated the crippled electrical sector in the Dominican Republic, where hospitals depend on shaky generators and schools refuse donated computers because there is often not enough electricity to run them. The country already loses about half the power it generates to infrastructure damage and customers who do not pay.

  7. NoFuture?

    Quite frankly, the madam and I are not making ends meet.
    I see poverty and destitution in my future, unless something drastic happens to turnaround the ever-spiralling cost of living on Barbados.
    And that’s the God’s honest truth!!

    I too will soon be stealing copper cabling
    to pay the rent.!

  8. B.L.P.

    Welcome to our ‘First World Barbados’ !

  9. herefordian

    According to UK Government figures a staggering 22 per cent of the UK population – 12.4 million people – now live below the poverty line (of that 71 per cent are adult) – and it snows….

  10. Hants

    No future? if you can cook, try selling food.

    Try being a middle man.

    Buy and sell.

    If you can afford a computer you probably find a little money to start your own Business.

    Call William Duguid and see if he can help you with some work on the side.

    Try to find a way to make more money so you don’t worry about the cost of living.

    Try to capitalize on Crop over.Sell T shirts. Bottled water etc.

    None of what I am telling you is easy but it is better than stealing.

  11. Dear Adrian,

    We’ve got a first class stadium (so long as you play ball during daylight) and we’ve got new highways and roads and we’ve got a mega-mall and a fancy private hospital coming soon around the Warrens area and God (or the Great Pumpkin) only knows what else is in the works! Oh! The offshore drilling for oil! How could I forget that? We’ve got all the big oil companies fretting over us. When we strike it, we’ll be awash in, what’s it called? PETRO-DOLLARS?Hah! Then we’ll buy out all of T&T.

    The poverty is just a sign of how much “world-classiness” we’ve got! We’re getting like the big boys now.

    (wink, wink) 🙂

    On a serious note, you’d think that Government (maybe even the private sector?) could work together to ensure that no one in Bim is left behind. Especially after we constantly try to prove to the world how first class/world we are, or are trying to be. We can’t even look after some of our own people.

    Yours,
    The Bystander.

  12. God Bless David

    I’m living and working in Bermuda, by a recent measure the world’s wealthiest territory on a per capita basis (GDP per capita is more than US$70k per year). Statistics here show that about 19% of the population live below the poverty line – which, given the cost of living here, is pegged to a higher level than back home in Bim.

    According to the US Census Bureau, by a number of measures (race, family relationships, location, etc), the proportion of people living in poverty can range from the mid-teens to nearly 30% in the land of the free… Regardless of how wealthy or well-managed a capitalist economy is, there will always be poverty. I can’t see poverty eradication being a realistic goal…maybe the alleviation of abject poverty is, most effectively though the provision of quality education and employment opportunities (and not handouts!) but I don’t think it’s humanly possible to do better than that.

    And it’s all a matter of perspective, anyway. No wiser a personage than the Roman philosopher Seneca said: “It is not the man who has little, but he who desires more, that is poor.”

    The best response to poverty is not more money, but more opportunity.

  13. Verdana

    I am convinced that the figures are much higher for this Country, but Mr. Loveridge…are we a developed Country or just pretending to be…??!
    I think the second one is the right one!

  14. de gap

    Another non-story

    11% of the U.S. and Canadian populations live below the poverty line. In Bermuda it’s 19%, Antigua 18%, and TnT 17%. Looks like another ringing endorsement for the PM.

  15. herefordian

    Barbados simply has to be the best place in the world to be poor – no heating bills, cheap beer, free clean water, as much work as you want, a sea full of fish, a land full of fruit and veg – no wonders everyones having a pop at the government cos there sure as heck fire is nothing else to complain about – we could all go live in the Sudan I guess

    ******************

    BFP Comments

    Let’s start with clean water. If we don’t have enough of that, nothing else matters.

  16. Herefordian: from Hereford England or a breeder of Hereford cattle? 😀
    Another apologist enters with mind boggling simplistic solutions to Barbadian concerns. Another Doppleganger (with claims to be British)in another forum once referred to some Barbadians voicing their displeasure with industrial relations at their work places , as nothing more than the “bleating” of black belly sheep. As you know giving more water and more feed to the sheep usaully shuts them up. Simple right?
    ——————————————————–
    Housing for disadvantaged groups

    The Poor

    The White Paper on Housing (1997) states that “fulfilling the housing needs of disadvantaged groups creates the greatest challenge to Government’s goal of providing adequate shelter for all by the year 2000”. This assessment is based on data presented which show that some 36,000 persons, or 34 per cent of the labour force, earn less than $200 weekly which automatically excludes them from acquiring housing in the formal market both in terms of affordability and qualification. Another 27,000 earn between $200 and $300 weekly, accounting for 25 per cent of the labour force. In relation to households, results of a survey of the urban area where some 40 per cent of the population live indicate a median household income of $14,000. Based on these data, it is clear that in the absence of cheaper housing or some form of subsidy to assist select households, some 60 per cent of Barbadians would be unable to afford a home in the formal market since their income would disqualify them from either purchase or available mortgages.
    —————————————————————

    Can anyone tell us how far along are we as a country in addressing this inbalance?

  17. If the U.K., a welfare state, has a poverty level of 22% as reported above, and wealthy Bermuda a poverty level of 19%, the poverty level reported for Barbados at 8.7% is derisory- non-existent in reality.

    But is it realistic or accurate? Does an aged crone living in a wooden shack constitute a “household” for U.N. statisticians?

    $110 a week per head is a figure we can understand. For a couple with three children that’s $550 per week which should be enough to put food on the table and clothes on their backs. Unless wasted on booze and tickets to fetes.

    As always statistics can be used mischievously, even by well-intentioned bodies. We know there are still many poor people in Bim, whether it is 5,000, 24,000 or 33,000. Our country is wealthy enough to ensure that the genuinely deprived receive basic support.

  18. Adrian2

    [If the U.K., a welfare state, has a poverty level of 22% as reported above, and wealthy Bermuda a poverty level of 19%, the poverty level reported for Barbados at 8.7% is derisory- non-existent in reality.]
    ————————————–
    ****I prefer to deal with Barbados and Barbadians. It is 8.7% of HOUSEHOLDS WHICH IS ESTIMATED TO BE 7000 HOUSEHOLDS, WHICH IS ESTIMATED TO BE BETWEEN 24,000 TO 36,000 REAL HUMAN BEINGS. hardly as non-existant or invisable as you would like them to be and that the GoB seems to think they are. Barbados is only so small, and hiding such a large number of persons is no small task.

    [But is it realistic or accurate? Does an aged crone living in a wooden shack constitute a “household” for U.N. statisticians?]
    ——————————————–
    *****Is an aged crone a human being? and how many of the 7,000 HOUSEHOLD WOULD YOU SUGGEST FALL UNDER YOUR CONVENIENT LABEL?

    [$110 a week per head is a figure we can understand. For a couple with three children that’s $550 per week which should be enough to put food on the table and clothes on their backs.
    Unless wasted on booze and tickets to fetes.]
    ——————————————–
    *****Are you suggesting that the 3 children are of working age? or that they should be? and what percentage does your scenario represent of the figures presented?

    [As always statistics can be used mischievously, even by well-intentioned bodies. We know there are still many poor people in Bim, whether it is 5,000, 24,000 or 33,000. Our country is wealthy enough to ensure that the genuinely deprived receive basic support.]
    ———————————————-
    …and what statistics do you have to suggest that the genuinely deprived recieve basic support???? How do you indentify “the genuinely deprived”?

  19. Adrian2

    The poverty line is based on the minimum requirement of a nutritional food basket plus selected non-food items. The poverty line varies from Bds $5,067 to Bds $5,431 depending on the age and sex composition of the household. Hence the poverty line was set at Bds $110 per week for each person.
    ———————————————————–
    It appears to me, that what defines the poverty line in this study, is in part dependent on the COST to the consumer for the individual items in the “Nutritional food basket and the selected non-food items. Given the current reports of across the board increases in retail prices, could it be that the 36,000 persons who earn under 200 dollars and the additional 27,000 who earn under 300 dollars are now feeling the effects that would have now been magnified for those classified as poor?

    ……So that now we have a larger number of persons who at varying stages income i.e. under 300, under 200 and at 110 and below, all suffering within the “Misery index” of High retail prices and being included in the 60% of all Barbadians that the depressing thought of being denied the Barbadian dream of owing a piece of the Rock or there own home is a current reality.

    There is another study out there that shows a disturbingly high number of adult children living at home with their parents, prevented from leaving home as a result of the high price of land and housing. Anybody seen it?

  20. Najo

    What can we expect when all major Government projects have over runs of Hundreds of Millons of Dollars, and it seems to be a little thing.

  21. Adrian 2- I gather that you are sincerely concerned with the incidence of poverty in Barbados, but your argument is so confused it is hard to know what point you are trying to make.

    You seem ready enough to accept the statistics you want, yet cast aside the basic one that Barbados compares very favourably with wealthy nations by the same standards.

    Moreover the “poverty line” is an arbitrary figure unlikely to apply equally in Barbados to metropolitan countries where such items as heating are a significant factor.

    There may be 7,000 “poverty level” households in Barbados, but I doubt a high percentage of them have 4.5 family members. It is the elderly who are patently the deprived in our society.

    I do not believe there are between 24,000 and 36,000 Barbadians, men, women or children, who are poor to the point of never having enough to eat, nor be decently clothed.

    In being concerned only with Barbados you are displaying an ignorance of what real poverty means on the international scene. Instead of being so parochial watch some world news, and realise that 91.3% of Barbadians are well off.

  22. bajanlion

    Upon return to my much beloved bim last year,after 19 years away one thing was still painfully evident, the poor were getting poorer and the rich were still getting fatter, when are things going to change what are we as lovers of this great island going to do to affect this change ?

  23. Adrian2

    xlnc4u
    July 13th, 2007 at 3:19 pm:
    Adrian 2- I gather that you are sincerely concerned with the incidence of poverty in Barbados, but your argument is so confused it is hard to know what point you are trying to make.
    ————————
    I don’t think so, my arguments are base on published research that no one has attempted to refute. The confusion is of your making. I provide research data for a given period, some 10 yrs ago, and in light of public perception i am asking where is the current research data to measure these indicators today? I will note that public perception 1996-1997 was in tandem with the then research data, and until proven otherwise i will be believe the same to true today.
    —————————————-
    xlnc4u
    July 13th, 2007 at 3:19 pm:
    You seem ready enough to accept the statistics you want, yet cast aside the basic one that Barbados compares very favourably with wealthy nations by the same standards.
    ———————————–
    What is acceptable in the UK does not and is not the yardstick for what is acceptable to Barbadians or to me, except in your argument, to which i would say that they are persons in the UK who should have a problem with what you contend to be par for the course there.

    As for casting aside that which i do not care for, what do you call your comments “……..But is it realistic or accurate? Does an aged crone living in a wooden shack constitute a “household” for U.N. statisticians?”

    xlnc4u
    July 13th, 2007 at 3:19 pm:
    Moreover the “poverty line” is an arbitrary figure unlikely to apply equally in Barbados to metropolitan countries where such items as heating are a significant factor.
    ———————————-
    ha ha ha ha ha such is not a requirement, I am sure that you would agree with the statement that poor people will always be a feature of every society, and that there is in fact something referred to as economy of scales, if so should every society not have unique figures to assess the level of poverty uniqiue to them? I think so, and the reserch data demonstrates how it is arrived at and what it conciders the Barbadian poverty line as of 1996-1997.

    xlnc4u
    July 13th, 2007 at 3:19 pm:
    There may be 7,000 “poverty level” households in Barbados, but I doubt a high percentage of them have 4.5 family members. It is the elderly who are patently the deprived in our society.
    ——————————————
    I brought research data and you are bringing doubts to the table? There are 4 level of human experience “feelings, beliefs, facts, and ideas” which one are you using to conclude as you did above?

    xlnc4u
    July 13th, 2007 at 3:19 pm:
    I do not BELIEVE there are between 24,000 and 36,000 Barbadians, men, women or children, who are poor to the point of never having enough to eat, nor be decently clothed.
    ——————————————
    That was not the argument presented in the research, and is not the measurement threshold to determine poverty levels in Barbados, if it is for you all i can say is wow, and thanks for the confirmation. It is not difficult to elevate your discussion beyond mere belief.

    ——————————————-
    xlnc4u
    July 13th, 2007 at 3:19 pm:
    In being concerned only with Barbados you are displaying an ignorance of what real poverty means on the international scene. Instead of being so parochial watch some world news, and realise that 91.3% of Barbadians are well off.
    ————————————-
    The research does not lie, and Barbadian perception of their condition will not change with such deflection. In the world of the blind the one eyed person is king. If Barbadians have a strong love of self they will take their own destiny into their own hands, as it is very clear for all to see, that to those whom they have instrusted reigns of powers, their views about their condition and aspirations are way below that of which they have for themselves. It should be clear to Barbadians who may think that their condition is less than ideal that there are some who think that unless you are having problems finding food and shelter that your concerns are not legitimate.

  24. The Peeper

    Wow…I really gotta wonder at how we BECAME so poor in the first place!

    I wanna know…

    How is it that “poor” people can have a BMW in front of their chattel houses?

    How is it that “poor” people can ALWAYS get money to get brand name clothes and go out to ALL the fetes?

    How is it that “poor” people can go on trips every few months?

    I gotta know how to get that kinda connections too, boy!

    Well, well, well…

    Sell ya body, soul, or happy horse to get what ya want, eh?

    That’s what the country will come to!

  25. Adrian2

    The Peeper
    July 16th, 2007 at 11:45 pm
    Wow…I really gotta wonder at how we BECAME so poor in the first place!
    I wanna know…
    How is it that “poor” people can have a BMW in front of their chattel houses?
    How is it that “poor” people can ALWAYS get money to get brand name clothes and go out to ALL the fetes?
    How is it that “poor” people can go on trips every few months?
    I gotta know how to get that kinda connections too, boy!
    Well, well, well…
    Sell ya body, soul, or happy horse to get what ya want, eh?
    That’s what the country will come to!
    ——————————————————-
    It would appear to me that you standing on the periphery of making a counter argument, but seemly cannot fully commit to the effort. Now if i had made my argument base on hearsay, and on magnified eyewitness accounts I would have been asked to show the proof, but i will not ask you to do the same. 😀

  26. bajanlion

    Aside from the local crack or weed dealer, who actually has a BMW in front of their chattel house?
    and dont be so harsh and judgemental ,de same boy you you see at de fete enjoying he self 1 nite is de same boy dat spend de rest a de week trying tuh betta he self, i`ve seen intelligent young willing people in barbados suffer from sheer lack of opportunity in an island where seemingly opportunity is abundant.. to the select few.

  27. Yardbroom

    I think there has been a misunderstanding on this thread, the Advocate article on which this thread is based states:

    “Three out of every 20 children in Barbados live in homes that are considered to be food-insecure which means that there is not always enough food in their homes for the recommended three daily meals”…

    If one uses the above criterion, it would not surprise me that the poverty level in Barbados could nudge 8.7 percent.

    Barbadians are very proud people, and tend to keep their poverty hidden from strangers, this results in a most severe kind of suffering mental anguish. There is a feeling in some quarters that unless people are in rags, they are not living in poverty, I beg to differ.

    There will always be stories of poor people with large new cars, parked outside modest houses. These stories are legion all over the world, and in a few cases they are true, but cannot be seen as the norm. They are only used as a justification not to help the poor, or try to improve their circumstances.