Volume 44, Number 174,
July-September 2013
Setbacks and Challenges for Social Policy in Mexico
José Narro Robles, David Moctezuma Narro
and Diego de la Fuente Stevens
Major Differences between Rural and Urban Poverty

Another feature of poverty in Mexico is related to the major differences between rural and urban communities. Although this gap is not new, it is a significant problem, especially when taking into account that inegi reported that nearly 23.1% of residents lived in communities with populations below 2,500 in 2010, while nearly 40% were living in communities of 15,000 people or less.

Figure 5 below compares poverty data for rural and urban communities. It can be observed here that nearly 65% of the rural population lives in some kind of poverty. This figure translates into nearly 17 million people, of which 6.3 million are living in extreme poverty. This data is rather different than for urban populations where, although more numerous, poverty is present in a lower proportion, at 40.5%, of which 15.5% live in extreme poverty.

In other words, in rural areas, 40 out of every 100 people live in poverty and 24 in extreme poverty, in urban zones, these numbers change to 34 and six, respectively. It is of note that although the urban population is significantly larger than the rural group, with a proportion of 3.3 to 1, the number of extreme poor in rural regions is greater than the number living in urban areas.

Figure 5. Proportion of the Urban and Rural Population Living in Poverty and Extreme Poverty 2010
Source: “Poverty in Mexico and the Federal States 2008-2010” Report, Coneval.

Table 6 details the differences shown in Figure 5. As can be observed, values for the rural population are higher in all indicators than for the urban group. The only exceptions are the not poor and not vulnerable population indicators, and the income vulnerable population. This last descriptor refers to persons with income below the welfare line but not lacking in any social needs. Because 93.6% of the population in rural communities is lacking in at least one of the six social needs, this indicator is only 1.1% for rural environments.

More specifically, Table 6 shows that lack of education is double for rural populations versus urban, and nearly 82% of the former group does not have social security, in contrast with 54% of the latter. Regarding the lack of access to basic housing services, the rural to urban proportion is higher than 6:1. The number of people with income below the minimum welfare line in rural areas is more than twice that of the urban population. The same could be said for the rest of the indicators.

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Published in Mexico, 2012-2018 © D.R. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).
PROBLEMAS DEL DESARROLLO. REVISTA LATINOAMERICANA DE ECONOMÍA, Volume 49, Number 194 July-September 2018 is a quarterly publication by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México, D.F. by Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas, Circuito Mario de la Cueva, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán,
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