SUVA – More than one third of Fiji’s population are living in poverty. This was revealed by the Australian High Commission’s Counsellor-Development Cooperation, Sarah Goulding at the official launch of the Social Protection and Poverty Report in Suva.
The Social Protection report stated that the poverty rate has however dropped by 4.6 percentage points from 39.8 per cent in 2002 and 2003 to 35.2 per cent in 2008 and 2009.
The report, however, revealed that rural poverty rates remained virtually unchanged despite the significant drop in the rate of poverty in urban settlements.
“Therefore most of the poverty reduction during this period is driven by the 8.3 percentage point (23 per cent) reduction in urban poverty from 34.5 per cent to 26.2 per cent,” the report said.
Rural poverty was stated to have remained at 44 per cent during the two periods.
The Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Jiko Luveni said the Northern Division recorded the highest rate of poverty followed by the Western, and the Central Division reported the lowest poverty rate.
“The Northern Division is reportedly the poorest at 54 per cent, followed by the Western Division at 40 per cent and Central Division 23 per cent,” Dr Luveni said.
The report said there were similar trends of poverty between 2003 and 2009 across the three divisions around four to six percentage point reductions.