San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

State of the Nation Report: Startling Gap Between Rich and Poor

Costa Rica has become less equal and its number of impoverished people has grown.

Meanwhile, the small nation’s rich are getting richer.

According to State of the Nation, an independent annual report that gauges social, economic, political and environmental trends, Costa Rica reached its most unequal point in 20 years in 2009, recording a Gini Coefficient of .437. The Gini Coefficient measures disparity in income in a population on a scale of zero to one, with zero marking complete equality.

The report, released on Tuesday, highlights a startling gap between the rich and the poor.

In 2009, Costa Rica’s richest homes saw an 11.6 percent growth in household income while that of the poorest households experienced a 6.9 percent drop.

Poverty, which grew by one percent from 2007 to 2008, rose by 0.8 percent in 2009, engulfing 18.5 percent of Costa Rican homes. 

“The balance in 2009 in these areas is negative,” the report concludes, calling inequality and poverty two “critical areas” the country must address. “In Costa Rica, inequality and the distribution of income continue to expand … and there are no advances in the reduction of poverty.”

See the Tico Times Friday edition for more on The State of the Nation.

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