Guatemala’s poverty is rooted in many social, economic and political factors, manifested by high illiteracy, poor health and extremely inadequate housing.
Twenty percent of Guatemala’s population holds fifty percent of their gross domestic product. This leaves the remaining eighty percent living on minimal income and unable to afford sustainable housing. According to the CIA World Factbook, 59.3% of Guatemala´s population is living below the poverty line.
In the January 25, 2017 edition, the Guatemalan newspaper, El Periodico, reports a qualitative housing deficit of 61%, or 1.54 million homes. This is calculated based on the number of homes made with low quality materials (mud, cane, wood, sheet metal), and lack of access to water and bathroom facilities.
Youth in Guatemala
Youth represent 70% of the country’s 14.7 million inhabitants, and the housing deficit affects them drastically. According to the National Human Development Report 2011-2012,
“Malnutrition, illiteracy or low levels of education, unemployment or informal employment, and the lack of documentation limit youth’s abilities to exercise citizenship, and forces migration and violence. Extensive data also shows that the lack of public policy in providing development opportunities for youth has excluded nearly a million people under the age of 18 from Guatemala’s educational system. Furthermore, at least four million youth face serious limitations due to exclusion: 25 per cent of Guatemalan youth lack access to formal education or decent work; the life expectancy of 12 per cent of men and 6 per cent of women is 30 years of age; and 52 percent live in poverty.” (UNDP)
- 44% of the population of Guatemala lacks access to proper hygienic bathroom facilities.
- Eleven percent of homes in Guatemala are given as donations from outside organizations.
- 1.8% of homes in Guatemala are paid through long term payments.