Nutritional Intake and Poverty in Mexico: 1984-2010
40 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2015
Date Written: October 30, 2012
Using nutritional information of food items acquired by each household, we evaluate how Mexico’s nutritional (calorie and protein-based) poverty has changed over time. Our extensive dataset combines household surveys from 1984, 1989, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010. We find per capita calorie intake has decreased over time for both urban and rural households. The pattern is similar to the case of India, where a decline in calorie intake between 1983 and 2005 has been documented (Deaton & Dreze, 2009). In both urban and rural areas, nutritional poverty is increasing over time. For instance, the estimate of urban households who did not have an adequate calorie intake increased from 46% in 1984 to 64% in 2010. Unlike the case of India (Gaiha, Jha and Kulkarni, 2010), we find strong declines in calorie intake for the bottom expenditure quartile of the population, where calorie poverty in urban areas increased from 69% in 1984 to 95% in 2010. We find that increased prices of nutrients can only partly explain the calorie and protein intake drop. The decrease in intake can also be explained as consumers have shifted consumption away from food items and into other goods, such as personal care, communication, and vehicle services. Still, some of the drop in nutrient intake remains unexplained, especially for urban poor households. Our results also indicate that even though there is a decrease in per capita household calorie intake, children are obtaining a greater share of total household calories over time.
Keywords: Nutrition, Poverty, Mexico
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