According to a 2021 UNICEF report, in 2016, “30% of people in St. Vincent and the Grenadines were living in poverty and 3% were indigent (indigence entails living in a level of poverty in which real hardship and deprivation are suffered and comforts of life are wholly lacking).”
That rate positioned St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ poverty rate as higher than the average of 23% for the Eastern Caribbean.
As far as the demographics (age) were concerned, the report cited that, more than 1 in 3 or 38% of children ages 0-17 and 37% of adolescents ages 10-19 were living in poverty, which was higher than the poverty rate for adults aged 18+ years (30%).
While the poverty rate for young people ages 10-24 was not available because it has yet to be calculated, the Report said that child and adolescent poverty rates were slightly higher than the averages for the Eastern Caribbean (33% and 34% respectively).
Adolescents (ages 10-19) living in female-headed households were more likely to live in poverty (41%) than adolescents living in male-headed households (31%). Whereas, adolescents living in male-headed households (3%) were equally likely to live in indigence as adolescents living in female-headed households (3%).
Impact of COVID-19
It was projected, as per the Report, that with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, that severe poverty rates will increase in the Eastern Caribbean, impacting children in particular. For children in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, severe poverty is projected to increase fourfold from 3% pre-pandemic to 12% as a result of the pandemic for all in the population.
And as far as another socio-economic scourge – unemployment – was concern, the 2021 UNICEF Report stated that Youth were twice as likely as adults to be unemployed.
Youth ages 20-24 (78%) were four times more likely to be employed than youth aged 15-19 (18%); whereas, youth ages 15-19 (41%) were twice as likely to be unemployed than youth aged 20-24 years (19%).
In terms of gender, male youth (50%) were slightly more likely to participate in the labour force than female youth (45%); male youth (50%) were also more likely to be unemployed than female youth (39%).
The International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database as of June 2022, and as per availability of data, listed unemployment rates as follows: Antigua and Barbuda – 26%; Barbados – 30.6%; Dominica – 40%; Grenada – 29%; Haiti – 35.7%; Jamaica – 26.1%; St. Lucia – 38.7%; , Trinidad and Tobago – 12.7; St. Vincent and the Grenadines – 41.1%.