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Report: Bahamas has  second-highest economic and social inequality in Caribbean

The Bahamas has one of the highest economic and social inequality measurements in the Caribbean, according to the Latin American Economic Outlook 2019 Report.

The report, found on website Latameconomy.org, explained that while on average economic and social inequality within Caribbean countries ranks lower than Latin American countries, it was considerably higher than Organisation for Economic Cooperation and

Development (OECD) countries.

“Inequality measured by the Gini coefficient, for example, was below the LAC (Latin American and Caribbean) average of 47.8 in all Caribbean economies,” the report notes. The Gini coefficient is a measure of statistical dispersion intended to represent the income or wealth distribution of a nation’s residents, according to website wikipedia.org.

“However, it was considerably above the OECD average of 33.2. Inequality was highest in Suriname (43.8) and The Bahamas (41.9), and the lowest in Barbados (32.2).”

Despite this, the country posts some of the lowest poverty rates across all age brackets in the Caribbean. For ages five to 14 the average was 13.9 percent; for ages 15 to 19 it was 9.1 percent; for ages 35 to 54 it was 4.9 percent, for those 55 to 64 it was 3.5 percent and for those people 65 and over, it was 6.3 percent.

The report explains that among Caribbean countries, social investment has been placed on the back burner, as debt servicing absorbs resources from social development.

“In this regard, lack and inadequacy of resources have constrained social investment in such critical areas as education, sanitation, healthcare, housing, work programs and skills development,” the report states.

“Building sustainable development requires promoting inclusion, autonomy and empowerment, particularly for the most vulnerable.”

And while The Bahamas is listed in the report’s human development index as having declined in human development between 2010 and 2015, this country is high on the United Nations’ 2018 human development index, sitting at 54 among 189 countries.

The report explains that this country’s gross enrollment rate in education, taken from data between 2008 and 2014, shows that The Bahamas has the fourth-highest percentage of primary school-age children among 13 listed countries. The percentage of secondary school-age children was reported at 93 percent, eighth among the 13 countries. No data was available for tertiary education or pre-primary school-age children.

Chester Robards

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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