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By THE PULSE NEWS MEXICO STAFF

A severe drop in overall family incomes, spurred on by the still-rampant covid-19 pandemic and the country’s successive economic contractions, has led to a rise in Mexico’s poverty rate and in the number of Mexicans facing food shortages, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi).

In 2020, in at least 5.5 million Mexican homes, one or more family members went to bed hungry at least twice a week.

And 18.6 million Mexican households faced food insecurity in 2020, representing a 14 percent rise compared to the 16.3 million households that faced food insecurity in 2018, the Inegi said, based on its biannual National Household Income and Expenditure survey (ENIGH).

In 859,000 households, at least one child ate only once a day or stopped eating one day a week, the survey said.

In another 1.2 million households, family members said that they had to do something they would have preferred not to do in order to get food, such as begging, sending children to work or resorting to socially unacceptable practices. This represented a 15.7 percent increase compared to the comparable figure in 2018.

Overall family incomes have contracted by 5.8 percent over the two years, the Inegi said, and viable job opportunities have fallen by 10.7 percent.

The states most affected by food insecurity in 2020 were: Quintana Roo, with an increase of 62.1 percent; Querétaro, with 54.7 percent rise; Mexico City, up 42 percent; and Baja California, up 41.4 percent.

On a national scale, the percentage of Mexican households with food insecurity went from 47 percent in 2018 to 52 percent in 2020.

The poorest states had the highest proportion of families with food insecurities, including Guerrero, with 73 percent of households; Oaxaca, with 70 percent; Tabasco, with 65 percent; and Quintana Roo and Chiapas, with 64 percent each.

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