Houses on a hill in Quito, Ecuador

Social situation Fewer people living in poverty

Ecuador is an upper-middle-income country. The government's reform policies of the last ten years have achieved some initial successes. There has been a marked drop in poverty and social inequality.

The World Bank reports that, between 2007 and 2018, the proportion of people living below the national poverty line dropped from 36.7 per cent to 23.2 per cent, and that by 2017 the proportion of those living in extreme poverty had decreased from 8.5 per cent to 3.2 per cent. Annual gross national income per capita rose from the equivalent of 3,330 US dollars in 2007 to the equivalent of 6,120 US dollars in 2018. The Human Development Index (HDI) ranks Ecuador 85th out of the 189 countries assessed.

Social divide not yet closed

However, severe poverty still persists in the rural areas of Ecuador, where it affects, in particular, indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian groups, and children. Although social inequality has been reduced, the divide between rich and poor remains wide and is far from being closed. Furthermore, access to safe drinking water and sanitation still needs to be improved.

The official unemployment rate is 3.8 per cent. However, nearly 18 per cent of the workforce are considered to be underemployed.

In view of the high budget deficit and the growing level of public debt, the Moreno government has announced a course of austerity, with a focus on cutting expenditure on the public sector and public investment. Social spending, by contrast, which had been massively increased under Moreno's predecessor, Rafael Correa, is to be spared.