Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Poverty stats for Trinidad, but method questioned

A researcher in Trinidad says that a quarter of the nation's people live in poverty. But many of her peers question her methodology.

The Trinidad and Tobago Express' Aabida Allaham details the controversy over the statistics.

Dr Sandra Sookram, a lecturer and Research Fellow at the University of the West Indies's Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (Salises), said yesterday the current poverty level stands at 27.32 per cent.

"Although Trinidad and Tobago was classified recently as a high-income country by the World Bank, it has pockets of extreme poverty," Sookram said while delivering her findings on Poverty and Household Welfare in Trinidad and Tobago, Evidence from the Survey of Living Conditions (SLC) 2005 in the Salises Conference Centre at UWI's campus at St Augustine.

Speaking to a handful of apprehensive economists and economic graduate students, Sookram said in order to obtain the figure, she adopted a poverty line of $665 per individual per month, which was the same data that economist Dr Ralph Henry, from Kairi Consultants, used to calculate the 16.5 per cent poverty level in 2005, and an international food scale from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The official current poverty level is 16.5 per cent.

Administered to 3,621 households, Sookram's questionnaire collected information on numerous data, including their characteristics of household members, education and their socio-demographic situation.

Sookram said her results showed that when a man was the head of a working household, their poverty level was lower compared to when a female headed one.

She also indicated that age, education and the household size had an important role to play when it comes to generating an income.

But no matter what Sookram's findings showed, Henry said he did not believe her scales were accurate, considering that she used the same data.

Exasperated, Henry said Sookram's use of an international scale that was not adjusted for the Caribbean explained why she had a higher rate.

On the use of the WHO scale, he said the people who produced the scale would have taken into account countries like Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and the United States of America to broaden the gap.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Poverty is a word continued to be used in a manner to enable division of classes, with in the human race, Trinidad & Tobago has suffient resourses to suffice 1000000 plus people a desent way of life. The Maslow basic need of sustainable life was never shared amoung the people who brought here to enable orld wealth.

I would like to say nothing will be done effectively, except the people governing us, remember that there is still a part of this society that has never been accepted as part of the society, The genes of the inhumane treatment is still there to see but still not understood. Our Names are false, Language is false, we fort aur survival that was taken away and mentioned as though it was fought for us or given to us. We have been rubed of our rights to do for our selves, we are even encouraged not to love our selves and move forward, by telling us we wre mde my god image and likenes, but encouraged not to like our own colour.

we have a loss society, have aany government ever find out for years why a nummber of people year after year remain in the same situation. It is over 500 years of pain, you only get the change to move who know who. POVerTy should not be in the dictionary.