The state of Chiapas, located in the south of the Mexican republic, has historically presented an important gap in terms of development in relation to the rest of the country. The severe conditions of poverty lived by a large percentage of its population is a paradox when we consider that Chiapas is one of the states endowed richly withnatural resources.
The discussion about possible solutions to the problem of poverty in this region has been part of the national agenda since many years ago. However it is difficult to think about solutions without doing a complete analysis of the phenomenon, hence the importance to have a good diagnosis of the issue.
The main objective of this paper is to present a diagnosis about thecurrent situation of poverty in Chiapas through different approaches. The paper is divided in four sections. The first section is a brief description of the main socioeconomic aspects of the state of Chiapas. In the second section I will present a diagnosis of poverty based on the official methodologies developed by the Mexican government in recent years (poverty lines/multidimensional measurement ofpoverty). In the third section I will analyze some aspects that have not been considered in the Mexican official methodologies for the measure of poverty. These aspects however results particularly important to understand the actual situation of the poverty in the state. Finally, I will present some of the results of a survey done to find out the social representation of education and poverty inChiapas. This will allow have a vision of the contribution of the subjectif approach to the diagnosis of the poverty in this region.
Brief summary of socio ecomic aspects of Chiapas
Chiapas is located in the southeast of the Mexican Republic shares the state boundary at the north with the state of Tabasco, at the west with the state of Veracruz and Oaxaca; at the south with the Pacific Oceanand at the east with the Republic of Guatemala. The state is made up of nine regions: Centros, Altos, Fronteriza, Frailesca, Norte, Selva, Sierra, Soconusco e Istmo Costa.
According to the National Census, in 2005 the population of the state was 4,293,459, which represents 4% of the whole population of the country. Chiapas is basically a rural state with a plural ethnic and plural culturalposition: 26% of the population speaks an indigenous language.
Due to its geographical position Chiapas possesses a great flora and fauna diversity. Besides, this state has 30% of the superficial water of the country and in average 20 % of the nation’s oil is extracted in this state. Traditionally Agriculture has been one of the principal economic activities in the state although in recenttimes tourism has become an important source of income.
As mentioned in the introduction, even though this state posses a lot of the natural resources most of its inhabitants are still living in poverty. In the following section I will attempt to give an overview of poverty considering the approaches mentioned above.
Different approaches to identify poverty in Chiapas
From the poverty linesto the new multidimensional measurement of poverty
Until 2002 there wasn’t an official method to measure poverty in Mexico, each ministry or agency in the government adopted different methodologies to measure with the aim to implement programs or projects focused on poverty reduction. In order to state a method to homogenize the governmental action in this field, the government created theTechnical Commission of Measurement of Poverty in Mexico , this commission was made up of independent academicians who had had a vast experience in the study and analysis of poverty in the country. The Commission formulated a methodology to measure poverty based on the classic method of the households’ income.
This methodology contemplates three poverty lines. The first denoted as “food poverty ”...