February 01, 2021
News /
Posted by NCID

The Navarra Center for International Development produces a series of figures each week focusing on a topic per month. On January, this has been Demography. Here is an analysis by regions.


Central America

Approximately two thirds of the citizens of Guatemala live under poverty when considering a multidimensional approach, which means they lack access to a primary service, according to data at the Índice de Pobreza Multidimensional de Guatemala. Guatemala is, by far, the country with the highest rate of poverty in Central America, followed by neighbor Belize with a 41% and far from El Salvador with a 33% and Honduras with a 30% of population under poverty. There is a wide variety of causes that include public violence by street gangs, corruption, lack of employment opportunities and the hazards caused by extreme climate events such as hurricanes.

All these factors add up to the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which has increased poverty all accross the Northern Triangle. El Salvador has been the worst off, with a 9.8% in extreme poverty, followed by Honduras with a 5.5% and Guatemala with a 2.1% increase. These events fuel the migration of people from Central America to North America in search of a better future. Approximately a 9% of the region's population lives abroad, a total of 4.5 million people. Of those, 3.4 million are citizens of the three countries in the Northern Triangle who live in the United States of America.

Southeast Asia


The Philippines is the 13th most populated country int he world and the second in Southeast Asia, just behind Indonesia. The country is, at the same time, the second most densely populated in the region, just behind Singapore, with 358 people per km. Nearly one in four filipinos live in Metro Manila, the fourth largest urban area in the world with 25 million people. Nearly half of the people living in cities do so in precarious conditions in unserviced slums.

These people have been the most vulnerable to the social and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, as the virus hits more densely populated areas. An 86% of the urban poor experienced a decrease in their income during the enforced quarantine set by the government and half of those households experienced food insecurity, according to a United Nations Development Programme survey. In total, 21.6% of the population in The Philippines live in poverty.


Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya officialy categorizes its population into ethnic communities. Out of the 45 recognized, 5 account for two thirds of the population, but none of them reaches a fifth of the country's population. Politics in the country has aligned per communities, and these groups have historically united between them to reach power. Up to date, 3 presidents have been Kikuyu –Jomo and Uhuru Kenyatta and Mwai Kibaki– whilst 1 Kalenjin, Daniel arap Moi, whilst the Luo have been traditionally in opposition. The decentralization system put into place in 2013 opened the chance to govern in their counties to 18 leaders from 12 ethnic communities different to those of the five biggest.

The five main communities live in Central, West and Southern Kenya, which are also the areas with the most fertile lands and richer overall. Against this, the northern and eastern parts of the country are the less developed. Overall, all counties in Central Kenya have their poverty count below the national average, whilst the 10 regions with the most extended poverty are all inhabited by minority communities such as the Borana, Somali, Orma, Samburu and Turkana.

The South African government doesn't categorize its citizens by ethnicity, but rather by race. All its citizens are clustered into four groups: African, Coloured, White and Asian. The eastern part of the country is mainly inhabited by Africans, whilst Coloured citizens are predominant in the Western Cape Province. Whites focus on urban areas and Asians primarily in the Gauteng Province.

Despite being just a 7.9% of the population and 30 years after the official end of apartheid, Whites still earn three times as much income as Africans. This reflects on unemployment, with the latter having a five times higher rate than the former. The economic inequality also translates into poverty. Black South Africans account for a 94.4% of all chronic poor, 86.4% of the transient poor and 91.1% of South African vulnerable population, whilst Whites only account a 1.6% of transient poor, 0.1% of vulnerable and none of the chronic poor. South Africa is the most unequal country in the world in terms of income with a 0.63 Gini coefficient, with inequality having increased since the advent of democracy. The richest 10% of South African citizens hold 71% of the country's wealth, whilst a 60% of people only have a 7% of the total wealth, with Whites accounting for two thirds of the country's elite per a 22.4% of Africans represented amongst the richest class.