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Fiji's poverty rate revised to 24.1pc

 

Apr 25, 2022 05:09:23 PM

Fiji's poverty rate revised to 24.1pc Fiji’s national poverty rate for 2019-20 has been revised and is now estimated at 24.1 per cent compared to 29.9 per cent previously recorded.

This follows the updating of the household consumption estimates in Fiji’s 2019-2020 Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) for revised estimates on spending on non-food items such as utilities, communications, domestic services, and education.

This change affects consumption-based poverty estimates based on the survey.

The World Bank in a statement said the discrepancy in the coding was identified its Poverty & Equity Global Practice Team during a cross-check review exercise to ensure Fiji’s Survey remains in-line with international practices.

The World Bank says it regrets that this error was not identified earlier and the review identified that in the consumption aggregate estimated from the 2019-20 Survey, expenditure on four non-food categories: utilities (electricity, gas, water, garbage collection), communications (telephone, TV, internet and postal) domestic services and education (including school fees and books) was only included for households that spend on all sub-categories.

The revised expenditure measures now represent total spending on any of these items, bringing these figures in line with international standards.

The change has resulted in household consumption figures being revised upwards for most Fijian households, with non-food consumption originally representing 4 percent of total household consumption, now accounting for 11 per cent.

Fiji’s national poverty line remains virtually unchanged (FJ$ 2179.4 in the original, compared to FJ$2179.5 in the revision), due to the relatively uniform distribution of non-food expenditures among the households in the original and revised reference groups used to calculate the poverty line.

Poverty estimates have now been revised downwards in both urban and rural areas, with estimates for all divisions now lowered by 3.4 to 6.2 percentage points as illustrated in the table below.

The revised consumption aggregate means a Gini Index of inequality of 30.7 points, slightly up from 30.1 points. The urban-rural gap in real per adult equivalent consumption increases from 1.40 to 1.45.

The 2019-20 poverty estimates are based on consumption per capita and cannot be compared directly to 2013-14 poverty measures which were based on income.

Changes in the poverty headcount rate*

 

 Original rate (%)

 Revised rate (%)

 Difference in rate (p.p)

 National

  29.9

  24.1

  -5.8

 Rural

   41.5

  36.5

  -5.0

 Urban

  20.4

  14.0

   -6.5

 Geographical Division

 

 

 

 Central

  24.3

  18.8

  -5.5

 Western

  32.4

  26.2

  -6.2

 Northern

  35.2

  29.0

  -6.2

 Eastern

  42.7

  39.2

  -3.4

*NB: Figures in this table have been rounded.

 

By Reginald Chandar

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