The aim of every Caribbean country is to realize growth and development over time so as to achieve first world status. Most of the Caribbean countries are ranked as middle income countries. These countries realize that achieving first world status is a long term initiative given the many social problems that we face as a Caribbean nation. Among the many social problems that we face, poverty is the most pervasive of them all. Despite the effort of many of these countries to try and eradicate poverty it continues to account for the slow pace at which these countries develop. Commenting on the Caribbean, Carlson (1999) points to two key factors which have greatly impeded the spread and potential for economic growth and development; inequity
…show more content…
Poverty is widespread across the Caribbean in varying degree and is found mostly in the rural areas. Urban poverty also exists and is more visible than rural poverty. Urban poverty is also more socially destabilizing. Rural poverty manifest itself in lack of access to physical and financial resources, production support facilities and social and physical infrastructure services such as electricity, water, sanitation, roads and transportation. Urban poverty is revealed in overcrowding, the emergence of squatter settlements, poor sanitation and waste disposal practices. Criminal activity is a feature of both urban and rural poverty. Surveys carried out in the Caribbean between 1996 and 2000 found that Haiti and Suriname were the poorest with between 60%-65% of their population living below the poverty line. Most of the other countries fall within 20%-40% of their population been poor. Barbados was the only country found to have a lower rate of poverty with 14% of its population been poor and the Bahamas with 4%.
Many factors underlie the high incidence of poverty in the Caribbean. First is income and employment. Most of the employed labour is in low income jobs as labour force surveys readily show. The higher income occupations form a small proportion of the employed labour force. Middle income groups are a large segment but are closer to low income category, some analysts would assert. The