• Poverty has fallen dramatically since 2009, and by about one-fourth over the last five years. Urban poverty has fallen by about one-third, to 17.4 percent since mid-2009, and had fallen to 22 percent before the recession. Rural poverty fell to 50.9 percent by the end of 2011, after rising from 58 to 59.7 percent during the recession.
• This decrease in poverty has been aided by a significant expansion in the bono de desarrollo humano (BDH), a cash transfer program for those in the lower 40 percent of income distribution who are mothers of children under age 16, are above the age of 65, or are disabled. Recent studies have also found significant positive health and education effects associated with poor children receiving the BDH.
• Between 2006 and 2009, social spending increased significantly, with government spending on education doubling from 2.6 to 5.2 percent of GDP – and spending on social welfare programs such as cash transfer programs, child and family development, food security and nutritional development programs, and construction and maintenance of community centers, more than doubling – from 0.7 to 1.8 percent of GDP.
• Education accessibility for poor children has also been increased through the elimination of school fees, and the offering of free breakfasts, school materials and uniforms.