Nicaragua - Poverty and wealth

Nicaragua is one of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere. Despite improvements in the nation's economy and the implementation of government programs, almost half of the population lives in poverty. These factors have only reduced poverty in the nation from 50 percent of the population to 48 percent (or about 2.3 million people) since 1995. The nation's official poverty line is US$350 in income per year. Of the nation's poor, 17 percent live in extreme poverty, earning less than US$185 per year.

The middle and upper classes of Nicaragua live lifestyles that are comparable to those in the United States. For instance, they own American and European-built cars, use mobile phones, and their homes have all of the amenities of the American middle-class, including

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Nicaragua 999 690 611 460 452
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Mexico 3,380 4,167 4,106 4,046 4,459
Honduras 614 733 681 682 722
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.

electric appliances and conveniences. The wealthiest 10 percent of the population controls 39.8 percent of the nation's wealth (the poorest 10 percent only controls 1.6 percent of wealth).

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