In Mexico, one out of every three municipalities is highly and very highly marginalized, which is equivalent to 9.1 percent of the national population, in contrast to the municipalities with very low and low levels of marginalization, where 83 percent of the population lives. The National Population Council (CONAPO) defines social marginalization as the set of deprivations suffered by the population due to the lack of access to education, residence in inadequate housing, distribution, and the perception of insufficient monetary income.

The Marginalization Index by State and Municipality 2020, by CONAPO, shows that practically one out of every three municipalities has high and very high marginalization, where more than 11.4 million people live, representing 9.1 percent of the national population. The municipalities with the most precarious social and economic conditions are: Batopilas de Manuel Gómez Morín, Chihuahua; Mezquital, Durango; Del Nayar, Nayarit; Mezquitic, Jalisco; Cochoapa el Grande, Guerrero; Sitalá, Chiapas; Carichí, Urique and Balleza in Chihuahua and Chalchihuitán, Chiapas.

In very highly marginalized municipalities, 50 percent or more of the population lives on incomes of up to two minimum wages. In most of the municipalities with very high marginalization, between 50 and 60 percent of the population has not completed primary education; the case of Cochoapa el Grande, Guerrero, stands out, where 71.2 percent have not completed this level of studies.

The results indicate that 48 percent of the municipalities have a very low and low degree of marginalization, where a little more than 83 percent of the country's population lives, that is, 105.2 million people.

The ten municipalities with the best social conditions are located in the central and northern regions, with Benito Juárez in Mexico City being the best positioned, followed by San Pedro Garza García and San Nicolás de los Garza in Nuevo León; Cuauhtémoc, Mexico City; Apodaca, Nuevo León; Miguel Hidalgo, Mexico City; Chihuahua, Chihuahua; Coacalco de Berriozábal, State of Mexico; Corregidora, Querétaro and Coyoacán, Mexico City.

All the inhabitants of the Benito Juarez municipality have piped water, sewage, and electricity services. Only five percent of the population over 15 years of age has not completed primary school. In San Nicolás de los Garza, Nuevo León, its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is 25,636 dollars per inhabitant.

Poverty at the national level

Based on the 2018 and 2020 Multidimensional Poverty estimations, made by the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (CONEVAL); between 2018 and 2020, nineteen federative entities presented an increase in the percentage of the population in poverty. The three entities with the greatest increases were Quintana Roo (from 30.2% to 47.5%), Baja California Sur (from 18.6% to 27.6%), and Tlaxcala (from 51.0% to 59.3%), with 17.3, 9.0, and 8.3 percentage points more, respectively.

Likewise, between 2018 and 2020, thirteen federative entities had a reduction in the percentage of the population in poverty. The three federative entities that presented the greatest reduction in the percentage of the population in poverty were Nayarit (from 35.7% to 30.4%), Colima (from 30.4% to 26.7%), and Zacatecas (from 49.2% to 45.8%), with 5.3, 3.7 and 3.5 percentage points less, respectively.

It should be noted that the indicators for the multidimensional measurement of poverty in Mexico are educational backwardness, access to health services, access to social security, housing quality and space, basic services in housing, and access to nutritious and quality food. A person is in poverty when his or her income is below the Income Poverty Line (value of the food basket plus the non-food basket) and has at least one social deprivation.

On the other hand, the population is identified as being in extreme poverty when their income is below the Extreme Income Poverty Line (value of the food basket) and has at least three social deprivations. According to the CONEVAL, the percentage of the population in extreme poverty presented an increase from 7.0% to 8.5% between 2018 and 2020 and the number of people in extreme poverty increased from 8.7 to 10.8 million people.

Highest Deprivation

In 2020, the deprivation of access to health services increased by 12.0 percentage points. Other deprivations that increased to a lesser extent are educational backwardness with an increase of 0.25 percentage points and deprivation due to access to nutritious and quality food (0.31 percentage points). Lack of access to social security is the social deprivation with the highest incidence in 2020 (52.0% of the population).

Mexico contributes half of the increase in poverty in Latin America

Mexico did not take sufficient measures to protect households during the pandemic and had one of the lowest emergency budget allocations: 0.42% of GDP, below Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Salvador, and Honduras, according to an ECLAC report. The most recent report of the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC) shows a bleak outlook for the region and the need for a different economic reactivation, with inclusion and equality.

The current economic recovery is slow and inertial, increases inequality, and does not reduce poverty. Particularly noteworthy are the poor results for Mexico due to the growth of poverty. ECLAC's "The Social Panorama of Latin America 2020" projects an increase of at least 22 million more people in poverty in the region, of which Mexico would contribute at least half.

The ECLAC report documents that Mexico did not take sufficient measures to protect households during the pandemic, and had one of the lowest emergency budget allocations: 0.42% of Gross Domestic Product. This very low investment contrasts with 4% in Brazil, 2.8% in Bolivia, 2.3% in Peru, and even below the 1.85% allocated by El Salvador and 1.4% in Honduras, countries that evidently have a less developed economy than Mexico. Therefore, our country has no reduction in poverty due to the transfers.

Mexico does not have very high social spending either. In fact, it is at the average for Central America. And well below the budget allocated by its southern sister countries: Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay. All this, of course, is a proportion of GDP, i.e., the size of each economy. Economic reactivation with equality requires the economic and labor inclusion of women. Mexico has one of the lowest female labor participation rates.

In order to grow, women must be included in the labor force. ECLAC reminds us that the "care economy" is a strategic sector for reactivation and growth.

That is why the creation of the National Care System, already approved as a constitutional reform by the Chamber of Deputies, is so relevant. But the system mustn't be a "paper promise". It is necessary to allocate a budget to create child care centers and also to remunerate care work in homes. The approval of legal reform to achieve wage equality between men and women is a good measure, but it depends on its practical application. To be effective, the plan cannot be the government's alone. A serious plan requires a great social agreement, with the participation of the productive sectors and other civil society actors and state governments.

By Martha Palma, Source: Alcaldes de México