Poverty Migrates to Baja California (El Mexicano, 1/1/13)

MEXICALI, BC - Baja California includes over 320,000 people living in situations of poverty, and of them, around 100,000 live in extreme poverty, which means that they can not satisfy their basic needs such as food, drinking water, shelter or hygiene.

According to data from the State Government, most of them are not from Baja California; they are migrants who come from other entities with high levels of poverty such as Chiapas, but come to Baja California without employment. Of the five BC municipalities, Tijuana has the highest percentage of poverty.

According to the last population census carried out in the State by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi), there are 2,844,469 inhabitants in Baja California. This indicates that 13% of the population of Baja California lives in some degree of poverty. The majority of people in this situation does not have a home or lack the money to feed themselves properly. These figures were confirmed by the Secretary of Social Development in the State (Sedesoe), Pablo Alejo López Núñez.

Patrimonial poverty is the situation that faces most of those living in precarious conditions, followed by those that have limited income capabilities, not even have the resources to eat. Of the majority of poor in the State, 72% are considered within the category of patrimonial poverty, i.e. do not have their own house or live in overcrowded conditions, i.e., limited space and therefore can not enhance their living conditions/situation.

Around 18% of the poor in Baja California are people with limited capabilities or have an income that is enough to sustain the basic needs of their families. Approximately 10% of the remaining poor has to do with food poverty, meaning these people do not have enough resources to buy decent food that contributes to good nutrition for themselves or their families.

The majority of those who live in some degree of poverty live in rural communities, but there are also cases in urban and suburban areas of Baja California’s five municipalities. Data was taken based on statistics of the National Council of Evaluation of the Social Development Policy (Coneval) whose body is dependent on the Federal Social Development Secretariat.

However, it should be stressed that a lack of employment in the region is not a direct or determining factor in the levels of poverty that exist in the entity, as there are many people who still face precarious situations, whether in foodstuffs, patrimonial aspects or limited capacity.

Baja California has particular characteristics since anyone can access, for example, a pre-owned vehicle and that in terms of measurement, poverty is ruled out, and why it becomes classified in the heritage line with limited capacity and food poverty. It is worth mentioning that the State of Baja California presents a phenomenon in the behavior of its inhabitants and its population growth that is determinant on the movement of the labor market and poverty levels.

The most frequent cause of migration in the country and in the world is situations in which poverty has gone beyond the possibilities of enduring and existing in the place of origin and people have to resort to migration to survive in other regions or States.

Dr. Alejandro Díaz Bautista, an Economist and Professor at Colegio de la Frontera Norte (Colef) showed that poverty and social exclusion are the leading causes of both internal migration between States within a single country, when a person or family decides to move from a State with a high level of poverty to another State with a high human development level, as well as migration from one country to another.

This is a serious economic and social phenomenon, since there are millions of people in the country and the world who currently move for economic reasons, explained Díaz Bautista. This has consequences for places and institutions that receive migrants from other States, he added. The dynamic growth of the population of Baja California is not only due to a high birth rate, but because of the migratory flow from the South to the North of the country, said the academic.

The Population and Housing Census of 2010 recorded a migratory flow of 443,533 people who arrived at the border States of Northern Mexico with the United States and of this total 35% arrived in Baja California. "The phenomenon of migration has important implications on poverty levels. The people of the States of the country with high levels of poverty are motivated to leave their locality in search of a job that gives them higher incomes in order to have a better standard of living that meets their needs", explained the professor at Colegio de la Frontera Norte.

A person considered poor who seeks a better place to live and work away from their place of origin reaches the State of Baja California and at that time adds one member to the population, but also one more member who is in an unemployed state of poverty, says the State Government. The official Coneval figures show that the migrant population in Baja California comes mainly from regions located in the South of the country, as well as the Pacific region. The southern region entities highlight a strong presence of migrants from Chiapas, ranking 1st in extreme poverty; Guerrero, which is 2nd and Oaxaca, ranked 3rd.



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