The Guyana Bureau of Statistics (GBS) is moving ahead with a Living Conditions Survey, among several others, with the aim being to provide the State with quantified information to guide its planning.
Chief Statistician Lennox Benjamin at a recent engagement at the Finance Ministry said the Living Conditions Survey will be essential in developing a new level of current income and expenditure within the country and a new demarcation of the poverty line.
The last Living Conditions Survey was conducted 12 years ago and Benjamin feels the current one is being done at an appropriate time. In 2006, it was determined that 36.1 per cent of Guyana’s population was living in conditions consistent with moderate poverty.
However, since then Guyana has moved higher on the Human Development Index, now being ranked number 127 out of 188 nations. As such, this country is deemed a ‘medium human development’ nation.
The Chief Statistician said consumption patterns have changed, thus the need for the survey. Another survey is for households and budgets which should give key markers for economic growth.
“For household budgets, we are measuring the consumption patterns and level of expenditure of the populace as a whole, using a representative sample of the population. We last did such as exercise in 2006. It is also a major input; we will be doing a re-basing of our economy which is the base on which when we measure the performance of the growth of the economy and we need to know this before counting oil,” Benjamin remarked.
“When you’re doing a household and budget survey, you are also doing a portion of that to measure our living conditions from which we derive our poverty line,” he added.
These surveys were announced in September 2017 and were conducted in a three-month period. The Labour Force Survey is geared to track the labour market dynamics in the country.
In March 2018, it was reported that the unemployment rate has remained relatively unchanged, falling marginally from 12.5 per cent in the 2012 census to 12 per cent at the end of September 2017.