In 2020, half of the population living in poverty was concentrated in 173 municipalities, of which 117 belong to a metropolitan area. The three with the highest number of people in this condition are León, Guanajuato, with 816,934 citizens; Ecatepec, State of Mexico, with 786,391, and Iztapalapa, in Mexico City, with 772,584.
To these are added those of Puebla, Puebla, with 680 thousand 945 people, and Nezahualcóyotl, State of Mexico, with 523 thousand 289, figures that imply a public policy challenge, stated José Nabor Cruz Marcelo, executive secretary of the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (CONEVAL).
Upon releasing The 2020 Municipal Poverty Measurement, he said this study -prepared by the Council- was carried out in 2,466 municipalities and evidenced that Oaxaca, Puebla, and Chiapas continue to be the entities with the highest number of municipalities in a situation of poverty. On the other hand, "if we look at the total number of municipalities with less than 20 percent of their population living in poverty, Nuevo León stands out".
The municipalities with the lowest number of people living in poverty are Santa Magdalena Jicotlán, Oaxaca (a town with a very low population), with 55; along with Parás, Nuevo León, with 63, and San Felipe de Jesús, Sonora, with 66, he said at the event organized by the University Seminar on the Social Question, of UNAM's University Program for Development Studies (PUED), led by its coordinator Rolando Cordera Campos.
From 2015 to 2020, the municipality with the highest percentage increase in poverty was Tulum, Quintana Roo, with an increase of almost 30 points, as it went from 32.2 to 61.8 percent. In contrast, the municipality with the greatest decrease in poverty was Rosario, Chihuahua, which dropped from 79 percent to 33.1 percent, or 45.9 percent less. Meanwhile, in nine out of 10 indigenous municipalities, more than 60 percent of the population lives in this condition.
114 municipalities report 50 percent or more of their population living in extreme poverty, a figure that has decreased since 2010 (when there were 377), while the number of municipalities, 1,60, with less than 10 percent of their population living in extreme poverty has increased. Santiago Amoltepec, Oaxaca, has the highest percentage of the population living in extreme poverty, with 84.4, followed by San Simón Zahuatlán, also in Oaxaca, 84.3, and Cochoapa el Grande, Guerrero, 84.2, both of which have been recurrently on this list.
The number of municipalities with more than 50 percent of the population living in extreme poverty has been reduced. This is the case of iniapas, Guerrero, Veracruz, and, above all, Oaxaca. In absolute numbers, Acapulco de Juárez has the highest number of people living in extreme poverty, with a little more than 126 thousand; it is followed by León, with 115 thousand, a figure similar to that of Iztapalapa.
Nuevo León, together with Chihuahua and Sonora, are the states where the municipalities with the lowest percentage of the population living in extreme poverty are concentrated. In 2010, only 21 of the 2,466 municipalities reported less than 20 percent of their population in poverty, while 762 had 80 percent or more of their population in that situation; in 2020, those figures changed to 60 and 629 municipalities, respectively.
There is an increase in the percentage of poor population in the Yucatan Peninsula region, in the context of the health contingency, the contraction of tourism and economic activities, and the reduction of labor income.
The municipalities with the highest percentage of population living in poverty in 2020 were San Simón Zahuatlán, Oaxaca, with 99.6 percent; Cochoapa el Grande, Guerrero, with 99.4, and Coicoyán de las Flores, also in Oaxacan territory, with 99.3 percent, the same percentage as San Juan Cancuc, Chiapas, and San Francisco Teopan, Oaxaca.
In contrast, the municipalities with the lowest percentage of the population in poverty were San Pedro Garza García and Parás, Nuevo León, with 5.5 and 7.3, respectively; and the municipality of Benito Juárez, in Mexico City, with 7.9 percent.
CONEVAL makes available the results of the multidimensional poverty measurement at the municipal level so that the three levels of government can visualize the different social deprivations and the population's situation, which will allow generating and prioritizing social policy interventions according to the heterogeneous context of each municipality in the country.
Commenting on the presentation, PUED researcher Héctor Nájera Catalán pointed out the challenge of understanding poverty within the framework of a medium-term process of de-ruralization and in a context of a high level of urbanization, but with underdevelopment.
Sometimes it seems that we try to understand it by thinking of the old rural poverty, where there is low education, nutrition, and human capital in general terms, but in reality, this contributes little to explaining the phenomenon in Mexico. It is necessary to discern what is happening in the municipalities that have improved, those that have worsened, and those where there have been no changes, which poses challenges for study and regional academia, he concluded.