Cuenca and Azuay Province have Ecuador’s lowest poverty rates, Amazon region has the highest
More than half of Ecuadorians in the Amazon region live on less than $2.85 a day and below the national poverty line. In Morona Santiago Province, bordering Peru in the southeast, 70 percent live in poverty, according the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INEC).
By contrast, Azuay Province and the city of Cuenca have the lowest poverty rates at 17 and 12 percent.
Nationally, according to INEC, poverty has increased dramatically as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. “The devastation of the coronavirus has erased years of progress in reducing poverty,” INEC said in a statement. “We made some recovery late in 2021 but the poverty rate remains about 30 percent of the total population. The labor market is beginning to show growth, after declining since March 2020, and we expect this to pick up speed as the virus recedes.”
The statement added: “In 2020 alone, we lost 10 years of gains in our effort to reduce poverty.
INEC said it is reviewing statistics from 2021 and will release its findings in late March.
Only one in 10 residents of Morona Santiago has adequate employment, meaning they earn an income of less than $425 a month, INEC reports. Only two in 10 in the province have formal employment and appear on tax rolls and are eligible for Social Security benefits.
In the coastal region, Esmeraldas Province has the highest poverty rate, at 55 percent while in the Sierra, Bolívar Province has a rate of 46 percent.
Following Azuay for the lowest poverty rates were Pichincha at 19 percent, the Galapagos at 20 percent and El Oro at 21 percent.
Among cities with populations over 100,000, Cuenca’s poverty rate of 12 percent was followed by Quito’s at 15 percent, Machala’s and Ambato’s at 16 percent and Manta’s at 18 percent.