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viernes, junio 10, 2005

Datos: Venezuela's poorest saw dramatic income growth last year

Datos, a national market research firm, just released an economic analysis of the past 50 years in Venezuela.

Tha bad (though not surprising) news is that more and more Venenzuelans have fallen into poverty over the past 20 years. The number of people in the lowest income categry grew from 40% to 58%.

But there are signs that things are looking up for the 84 per cent of Venezuelans in the two lowest income classes (which I would characterize in U.S. terms roughly as "working class" and "poor"). Last year, they saw their real incomes increase by an astounding 33% (53% before inflation). Not bad!

Now, I'm guessing that some of that is a one-time increase from the proliferation of Mercal (government-sponsored supermarkets which sell basic food at low prices) and the introduction and spread of other poverty programs. I doubt very much that the poorest class will see their real incomes grow by 33% every year. But this year's boost is certainly a good start; hopefully, their spending power will remain at this enhanced level and its growth will continute to surpass inflation, albeit more modestly. We'll see.

There's an article about the data on Venezuelanalysis, and a more opinionated piece on Oil Wars. Though the researcher in me badly wants to get my hands on the actual data, not just Datos' powerpoint presentation. For one thing, I'd like to know what the change in average income was fo the other classes. Maybe a project to tackle what I'm back in the States...

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