Guatemala: Human development progress towards the MDGs at the Sub- National Level

2003 Occasional Paper
By Fuentes, Juan Alberto; Balsells, Edgar; Arriola, Gustavo

A general analysis of Guatemala’s performance regarding the MDGs generates surprising results, in the sense that general improvements appear greater than expected, and provide hope that most goals may in fact be reached. The consideration of different alternatives or scenarios may lead to question this view. First, actual achievements appear limited when determining the gaps that still separate Guatemala from other, more developed, countries. Second, it is possible to argue that Guatemala’s performance could have been better if adequate policies had been implemented, especially after the establishment of a democratic regime in 1986. Another approach is to analyze the performance of different social groups and regions to determine to what extent the situation of privileged or under privileged groups or regions differs significantly from the national average. This paper follows this approach, based on a desegregated analysis of the Millennium Development Goals and targets for specific groups and regions. The analysis is based mostly on two household surveys (ENS 1989 and ENCOVI 2000) which had similar sample sizes and a considerable amount of common questions. Although they are not totally comparable, their use for previous exercises suggests that the risks of using them for the type of analysis undertaken here are relatively minor.