POVERTY in the Greater Kingston Metropolitan Area (GKMA), which covers Kingston, Portmore and Spanish Town, has seen a significant fall-off in one year, according to data in the Economic and Social Survey of Jamaica (ESSJ) 2021.

The ESSJ 2021, which contains data for 2019, shows that the GKMA was the only region to record a significant decline in poverty with 4.7 per cent of people living in the urban areas compared with 9.2 per cent in 2018. Islandwide, however, 11 per cent of the population was living below the poverty line relative to the 12.6 per cent prevalence of poverty in 2018.

The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), publisher of the report, commented, “Although statistically similar to the previous year’s estimate of 12.6 per cent, there was an 8.3 percentage point decline when compared with 2017, the first year of the current revised poverty series.”

The report, while dated 2021, is based on research concluded in 2018 and 2019.

The GKMA boasts the greatest number of indigents, especially the elderly, most funding for assistance is also directed to the parish.

Still, the ESSJ 2021 outlines that overall food poverty in rural Jamaica remains high, but the new ESSJ 2021, released in June 2022, asserts that poverty rates overall are stable.