Fiji 2019-20 national poverty rate at 24.1%: World Bank

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World Bank has revised downwards Fiji’s national poverty rate estimates, to 24.1 per cent from 29.9 per cent as was recorded in the country’s initial 2019-2020 Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) report.

In a statement, the bank said the change comes after having updated the household consumption estimates in the survey to account for revised estimates on spending on non-food items such as utilities, communications, domestic services and education.

“The discrepancy in the coding was identified by the World Bank’s Poverty & Equity Global Practice Team during a cross-check review exercise to ensure Fiji’s Survey remains in line with international practices. The World Bank regrets that this error was not identified earlier,” the statement read.

“The review identified that in the consumption aggregate estimated from the 2019-20 Survey, expenditure on four non-food categories: utilities (electricity, gas, water, garbage collection), communications (telephone, TV, internet and postal) domestic services and education (including school fees and books) was only included for households that spend on all sub-categories.  The revised expenditure measures now represent total spending on any of these items, bringing these figures in line with international standards.

“The change has resulted in household consumption figures being revised upwards for most Fijian households, with non-food consumption originally representing 4 percent of total household consumption, now accounting for 11 percent.”

The World Bank also noted that “Fiji’s national poverty line remains virtually unchanged (FJ$ 2179.4 in the original, compared to FJ$2179.5 in the revision), due to the relatively uniform distribution of non-food expenditures among the households in the original and revised reference groups used to calculate the poverty line. “

Changes in the poverty headcount rate*

 Original rate (%)Revised rate (%)Difference in rate (p.p)
Geographical Division   
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