Mexican President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, expressed this Friday that he “does not accept” that there are 3.8 million new poor people in the country, as revealed by the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (Coneval).
“I do not accept the results of that survey, I have other data, and I believe that people are receiving more support, and even with the pandemic, people have enough for their basic consumption, and something very important, they have not lost faith, and we are moving forward,” he said at a press conference in Baja California Sur.
The president referred to Coneval, the agency in charge of Mexico’s official poverty figures, which on Wednesday revealed that the number of Mexicans in poverty rose from 51.9 million in 2018 to 55.7 million in 2020, while the proportion of poor people grew to 43.9 % from a previous 41.9 %.
The country also added 2.1 million people in extreme poverty for a total of 10.8 million, 8.5 % of the total population, an increase of 1.5 % versus 2018.
The socialist president, who came to power in December 2018 with the slogan “first the poor,” first attributed it to the covid-19 crisis, which caused a historic contraction of 8.2 % of GDP in 2020, but later questioned the measurement.
“It was because of the pandemic and not only that, they have other ways of measuring, they have other indicators, which I respect, but there is no doubt that people are receiving more support,” he said.
The President indicated that “the way of measuring welfare should be modified” and that not everything should “depend on economic indicators.”
However, Coneval’s general measurement is multidimensional and also includes access to social services, food and other non-monetary resources.
In fact, the number of poor Mexicans reported by Coneval is lower than the population with an income below the poverty line, which increased by 5.1 million people from 2018 to 2020, reaching 66.9 million Mexicans, 52.8 % of the total.
Despite the picture, López Obrador defended his social programs, such as the universal pension for senior citizens, the apprentices of Jóvenes Construyendo el Futuro, the support to farmers of Sembrando Vida, and scholarships for people with disabilities and students.
“When has so much money ever been allocated to support the poor? Never, never,” he exclaimed.
The president also boasted about the remittances sent by Mexicans from the United States, which reach 10 million poor families and surpassed a record $40 billion in 2020, with a forecast of $48 billion in 2021.