Millions escape poverty in Mexico as incomes rise

BY: Agence France-Presse

Millions of people have escaped poverty in recent years in Mexico, helped by rising incomes in Latin America’s second-largest economy, official figures showed Thursday.

The number of people living in poverty fell by 8.9 million, to 46.8 million, between 2020 and 2022, the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (CONEVAL) said.

The percentage of the population of 126 million in poverty dropped to 36.3 percent, down from 43.9 percent, it reported.

The improvement was due to rising incomes, better access to food, and wider access to social security among people aged 65 or older, according to CONEVAL, an autonomous official body.

The number of people in extreme poverty declined to 9.1 million, down from 10.8 million, over the same period, it said.

The areas with the most widespread poverty were the southern states of Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca, as well as Puebla and Tlaxcala in central Mexico.

CONEVAL considers someone to be living in poverty if they have an income of less than $250 a month in urban areas and $181 in rural areas.

Last month, the national statistics agency INEGI reported an 11 percent increase in the average quarterly income of Mexican households between 2020 and 2022, to $3,750, up from $3,370.

The Mexican economy suffered its worst slump in decades due to the coronavirus pandemic, shrinking 8.4 percent in 2020, but a recovery saw it grow 5.0 percent in 2021 and 3.1 percent in 2022.

Mexico hopes to benefit from the so-called “nearshoring” trend of US companies like electric carmaker Tesla moving their production closer to home instead of Asia.