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Poverty in Paradise

Baliís Number of Poor on the Increase

(1/11/2013) The Bali Post, reporting information from the Bali Statistics Bureau (BPS-Bali), confirms that poverty is on the rise in Bali.

The number of “officially poor” in Bali in 2012 (based on a March survey) counted 168,800 impoverished citizens, an increase from the 166,200 estimated in 2011.

The regency of Bali with the greatest number of poor is in the Island’s North at Buleleng. The chairman of Commission B of the Buleleng House of Representatives (DPRD-Buleleng), Putu Mangku Budiasa, blames this impoverished nature of his region on a poor road system and the inclination of investors to create projects in the southern part of the Bali.

In the regency of Karangasem the situation is much the same. The chairman of the Karangasem House of Representatives (DPRD-Karangasem), I Gede Dana, freely admits that his region is home to a disproportionate number of poor people, many of them working as farmers and fishermen.

Gede Dana also believes that Karangasem is home to many “invisible poor” – people not reflected in the data maintained by I Wayan Geredeg who serves as Regent. Geredeg’s figure counts only 16,000 poor families in Karangasem. Fueling Dana’s doubts on the accuracy of that data is the fact that in 2005 - 42,747 family household were reported as poor – a total that represented 40% of all families living in the region. Subsequent surveys, however, saw that total drop to 33,000 households and to 16,000 in the most recent count.

Meanwhile, Bali’s capital of Denpasar counts 2,106 impoverished households, a number down from the 2,586 recorded in 2011.