Human development improves in Costa Rica
The canton of Alajuelita, south San José, has the lowest human development figures in the country, while the best canton to live in is Santo Domingo, Heredia, north of the capital, according to a study by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the School of Statistics at the University of Costa Rica (UCR).
The results of the “Cantonal Human Development Index” presented Monday showed a general improvement in the country’s figures from previous research done in 2009. It takes into account the levels of education, quality of life and life expectations. Read the Cantonal Human Development Index here (Spanish only).
The cantons of Belén, Heredia, and Montes de Oca, San José, placed second and third in the country, while the Caribbean cantons of Matina and Talamanca, in Limón, joined Alajuelita at the bottom of the list.
Yoriko Yasukawa, a UNDP expert, said that many cantons showed improvement, but their rankings in the index remained unchanged, due to a general increase in country figures.
Cantons outside the greater metropolitan area reported high human development for the first time in the country’s history. These include Nandayure (ranked No. 10) and Hojancha (No. 14), in the northwestern province of Guanacaste.
Since the 2009 study, Alajuelita has remained at the bottom of the list, despite being located next to the wealthy cantons of Escazú, which ranked fourth, and Santa Ana, ranked seventh.
UCR researcher Edgar Gutiérrez said that Alajuelita has a primary school enrollment of only 48 percent and just 32 percent in high school.
“We should go to the cantons that ranked well and to those that went up in the table to see what the secret is and copy it,” Gutiérrez said.
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