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Jamaica's poverty rating worsens

Published:Wednesday | March 26, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Dr Alanzo Smith

Tamara Bailey, Gleaner Writer

MANDEVILLE, Manchester:

SOME 1.1 million Jamaicans are living below the poverty line, fuelling an intergenerational crisis.

The finding was one of several which came out of a study conducted by member of the American Counselling Association and the Association of Adventist Family Life Professional Dr Alanzo Smith.

Smith, who was the plenary speaker at the recently held Biennial Psychology Conference at Northern Caribbean University, said intergenerational poverty stems from a breakdown in family structure, lack of education and economics and is one of the reasons the Human Development Index, a report used to measure development through various means, ranked Jamaica 86th out of 187 countries with an alarming poverty rate.

"We must understand that the lower the country's ranking, the better it is for them, Barbados is the lowest ranked country at 36, which means they are doing something right. Jamaica was ranked 79th in 2011, but since 2013, has moved up to 86th, which means as far as poverty is concerned, we are getting worse ... Haiti however, comes after Jamaica with a ranking of well over 100th."

Smith highlighted that in order for intergenerational poverty to be alleviated, there must be strengthened cooperation with family systems, a reduction in teenage pregnancy, reduction in single female-headed households, reduction of family size, avoidance of withdrawing children from school, reduction of tolerance to criminal activity, reduction of learned helplessness, building stronger families, and a reduction in family regression.

rural@gleanerjm.com