Venezuelan Extreme Poverty Rises to 76.6%

Researchers reported on Sep. 29 that three-fourth of Venezuelans are now living in extreme poverty.

The 2020-2021 National Survey of Living Conditions (ENCOVI) found that 76.6 percent of Venezuelans are extremely poor, rising by almost 10 points from last year’s 67.7 percent.

According to the study, the increase in poverty was largely caused by the lack of mobility due to COVID-19 restrictions along with chronic fuel shortages that inhibited transportation.

The slowdown in Venezuela’s economic growth due to the pandemic also limited cash transfers and threw already poor households into extreme poverty.

Pedro Luis Espana, a sociologist at ENCOVI’s publisher Andres Bello Catholic University (UCAB), said that the pandemic and poorly paying job sectors created an “absence of opportunities.”

“It is sitting in front of the door of the house, doing nothing, not because you do not want to do anything, but because there is nowhere to do it,” Espana said.

When measured solely by income levels, ENCOVI also found that roughly 95 percent of the population are already living in poverty.

Poverty in Venezuela has been sharply increasing even before the country’s hyperinflation crisis that began in 2016 after its once-prosperous economy collapsed to corruption, poor governance and misguided policy-making.

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