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Chilean poverty rate rises first time in 23 years

07-15-2010 14:53 BJT

SANTIAGO, July 14 (Xinhua) -- Chile's poverty rate rose to 15.1 percent in 2009 from 13.7 percent in 2006, the first increase in 23 years, according to the Socioeconomic Characterization Survey 2009.

Rising unemployment was the main reason among many factors for more people slipping under the poverty line, according to Raul Gonzalez Meyer from the New Economics Team of the Academy of Christian Humanism.

He said unemployment levels in recent years had been higher than in the 1990s, and the global financial crisis had made the unemployment situation even worse in 2009.

As increasing employment was the key to the reduction of poverty during the 1990s, so the reverse was true in recent years, the expert told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Chile had a large number of people who are vulnerable to changes in employment, health, family and the macroeconomic situation, Gonzalez said.

Poor people were also more liable to become unemployed, he said. The survey showed the rate of unemployment of homeless people was 51 percent, the number was registered at 31 percent among poor people and only 7.9 percent among those above the poverty line.

Gonzalez also said, in 2009, the number of poor people in urban areas increased at a faster speed than in rural areas, and the largest population of poor people was in the country's central south region, where the poverty rate ranged from 20 percent to 27 percent.

Increasing exports of forest products and fishing in the central south had led to the depletion of resources for local residents, while yielding few benefits for them, he said.

According to Gonzalez, other factors leading to the rise in poverty include a persistence of inequality in income distribution; a rise in food prices worldwide in 2007-2008, which also increased poverty in other countries; and the limitations of Chile's export-oriented economy.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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