Antigua and Barbuda - Poverty and wealth
According to Sub-Regional Common Assessment of Barbados and the OECS , some 12 percent of the population lived below the poverty line in the 1990s. This is much less than the average in the eastern Caribbean. Research has shown that the level of poverty was 17 percent in Grenada in 1998, 19 percent in St. Lucia in 1995, and 31 percent in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 1996. About 35 percent of the eastern Caribbean is classified as poor (i.e., people in these countries earn less than
|GDP per Capita (US$)|
|Antigua & Barbuda||N/A||4,057||5,164||6,980||8,559|
|SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.|
|Household Consumption in PPP Terms|
|Country||All food||Clothing and footwear||Fuel and power a||Health care b||Education b||Transport & Communications||Other|
|Antigua & Barbuda||36||3||8||3||18||9||23|
|Data represent percentage of consumption in PPP terms.|
|a Excludes energy used for transport.|
|b Includes government and private expenditures.|
|SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.|
US$15-25 per day). Indicators point to the possibility of increasing poverty in Antigua unless the slowdown in the economy is reversed and more employment is provided.
The GDP per capita in 1998 was US$8,559. The Human Development Report 2000 gave Antigua and Barbuda a Human Development Index (HDI) ranking of 37th among the United Nations' 174 members. The HDI is computed by the UN and ranks its member nations based on an index which takes into account a country's health-care system, life expectancy, school enrollment, adult literacy rate, educational attainment, and per capita income to arrive at a score.
Antigua and Barbuda enjoys one of the highest employment rates in the Caribbean, and the second-highest wages and salaries per capita in the region. Life expectancy in 1999 was 75 years, about the same as in the United States.
The population benefits from national insurance and contributory pension schemes. Poor and elderly persons receive public assistance. The Antigua Medical Benefits Scheme (MBS) provides medical benefits to workers who contribute to it. However, at the beginning of 2001, the government was pressured to investigate alleged financial wrong-doing at the MBS. This has weakened confidence in the scheme. Workers are increasingly questioning the ability of the scheme to adequately finance health care in light of the charges of financial wrongdoing.
The government has operated a series of statewide free health clinics since the colonial period and these have expanded in the 1980s and 1990s. Although the government intends to introduce minimum user fees, it has promised to make provisions for the poor. The government also provides education at all levels.