Belize - Poverty and wealth



According to a census carried out in 1991, 38,000 people, or about 23 percent of the population, fell below the World Bank Poverty Threshold (meaning they made less than US$740 a year). The same census showed that 7 percent of the population was extremely poor (lacking the sufficient food and rudimentary services to ensure good health). Belize City has traditionally received a disproportionate share of government revenues because of the population representation system. Money is channeled directly into the Belizean Central Bank, and the resulting distorted spending has accelerated population growth in the port city, exacerbating poverty and social problems. The rural populations, particularly in the poorer districts of Toledo, Cayo, and Stann Creek have limited access to basic education, health care, safe drinking water, and sanitation. In 2001, 7 percent of the population was illiterate and 17 percent of the population did

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Belize 1,624 2,036 1,822 2,543 2,725
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Mexico 3,380 4,167 4,106 4,046 4,459
Guatemala 1,371 1,598 1,330 1,358 1,533
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
Belize 27 10 5 3 13 5 38
United States 13 9 9 4 6 8 51
Mexico 30 6 4 2 7 5 46
Guatemala N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
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.

not have access to safe drinking water. Life expectancy for both men and women was 71 years and the infant mortality rate was high, at 28 deaths per 1,000 live births.

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