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Poverty in Guatemala

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  • World Bank

Abstract

Poverty in Guatemala is high and deep. In 2000, over half of all Guatemalans lived in poverty. About 16 percent lived in extreme poverty. Available evidence suggests that poverty in Guatemala is higher than in other Central American countries. Although poverty has fallen over the past decade, its trend recently declined due to a series of economic shocks during 2001 and 2002. The drop of poverty incidence since 1990 is slightly slower than what would have been predicted given Guatemala's growth rates, suggesting that growth has not been particularly pro-poor. This pattern arises largely because growth in the rural sectors-where the poor are largely concentrated-has been slower than in other areas. Poverty and vulnerability are mainly chronic whereas only a fifth were transient poor. Likewise, while 64 percent of the population could be considered vulnerable to poverty, the majority of these are vulnerable due to low overall expected consumption rather than high volatility of consumption. The chronic nature of poverty and vulnerability highlights the importance of building the assets of the poor, rather than focusing primarily on the expansion of public safety nets or social insurance. Nonetheless, some public transfers (social assistance) could indeed be desirable to alleviate the poverty and suffering of the extreme poor, particularly when linked to participation in health and education activities. The Peace Accords represented a turning point for Guatemala's development path, paving the way for a transformation to a more prosperous and inclusive nation. Key areas related to economic development and poverty reduction include: a focus on human development, productive and sustainable development, modernization of the democratic state, and strengthening and promoting participation. The rights of the indigenous and women were also highlighted as cross-cutting themes throughout the accords, in an attempt to reverse the historical exclusion of these groups.

Suggested Citation

  • World Bank, 2004. "Poverty in Guatemala," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15066, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbpubs:15066
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    File URL: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/15066/275860PAPER0English0Poverty0in0Guatemala.pdf?sequence=1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hentschel, Jesko, et al, 2000. "Combining Census and Survey Data to Trace the Spatial Dimensions of Poverty: A Case Study of Ecuador," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 14(1), pages 147-165, January.
    2. Psacharopoulos, George, 1994. "Returns to investment in education: A global update," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(9), pages 1325-1343, September.
    3. Psacharopoulos, George & Ying Chu Ng, 1992. "Earnings and education in Latin America : assessing priorities for schooling investments," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1056, The World Bank.
    4. Narayan, Deepa & Pritchett, Lant, 1999. "Cents and Sociability: Household Income and Social Capital in Rural Tanzania," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(4), pages 871-897, July.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. World Bank, 2004. "Drivers of Sustainable Rural Growth and Poverty Reduction in Central America : Guatemala Case Study, Volume 2. Background Papers and Technical Appendices," World Bank Other Operational Studies 14559, The World Bank.
    2. Macours, Karen, 2014. "Ethnic divisions, contract choice, and search costs in the Guatemalan land rental market," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 1-18.
    3. Pagiola, Stefano & Zhang, Wei & Colom, Ale, 2009. "Can payments for watershed services help save biodiversity? A spatial analysis of highland Guatemala," MPRA Paper 13728, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Alwang, Jeffrey & Jansen, Hans G.P. & Siegel, Paul B. & Pichon, Francisco, 2005. "Geographic space, assets, livelihoods and well-being in rural Central America," DSGD discussion papers 26, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. Alwang, Jeffrey & Jansen, Hans G.P. & Siegel, Paul B. & Pichon, Francisco, 2006. "El espacio geográfico, los activos, los medios de vida y el bienstar en las zonas rurales de CentroAmérica: evidencia empìrica de Guatemala, Honduras y Nicaragua," DSGD discussion papers 26SP, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Marshall, Jeffery H., 2011. "School quality signals and attendance in rural Guatemala," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1445-1455.
    7. Adams Jr., Richard H. & Cuecuecha, Alfredo, 2010. "Remittances, Household Expenditure and Investment in Guatemala," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 1626-1641, November.
    8. Adams, Richard H. Jr., 2004. "Remittances and poverty in Guatemala," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3418, The World Bank.
    9. Marshall, Jeffery H., 2009. "School quality and learning gains in rural Guatemala," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 207-216, April.
    10. Curtis Holder & Gregory Chase, 2012. "The role of remittances and decentralization of forest management in the sustainability of a municipal-communal pine forest in eastern Guatemala," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 25-43, February.

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