Ecuador has lifted more than 1.5 million people out of poverty since 2007, with the country’s agency for planning and development claiming that the gap between the rich and poor too was narrowing rapidly.
In 2007, the wealthiest households were 42 times richer than poorest; today they are just 22 times richer.
Extreme poverty also fell from 16.5% in 2007 to 8.6% in 2014, said the report published by the country’s National Institute of Statistics and Census (individuals whose monthly income is less than $81.04 are considered extremely poor).
The same report stated that the unemployment rate fell from 6.07% in 2007 to 4.54% last year, a lower level than in other South American countries such as Brazil (4.8%), Peru (6%) and Chile (6.4%).
Public education is free in Ecuador and the net rate of children enrolled in primary education increased from 92% in 2007 to 96% in 2014.
The public health system has also become more inclusive’ with the state-run healthcare service supporting 43.8 million people in 2014, an increase of 27 million from 2006.
A string of social welfare schemes and the government’s spending on infrastructure projects have contributed to the reduction in poverty. State investment in Ecuador is higher than anywhere else in the region.
Hours after the survey result was made public, the Rafael Correa administration claimed credit for the achievement, attributing the success to the president’s poverty alleviation programs.