Mexico has undertaken major reforms over the past two decades that created and consolidated social protection programs benefiting a large part of the population.
The conditional cash transfer program “Oportunidades”, one of the first in the region, seeks to stop poverty from being transmitted from generation to generation. It gives cash to poor, selected, families on the condition that their children go to school and to regular health visits.
The program benefits about 5.7 million families so far. 1.7 million people in Mexico escaped extreme poverty thanks to Oportunidades and an alimentation support program, of which 1.2 million live in rural areas, according to 2010 numbers from CONEVAL.
Oportunidades is a well-recognized model for this type of programs, and many countries are interested in knowing how it works.
About 51.8 million people are covered by the “Seguro Popular”, the public health insurance that includes informal workers in Mexico – a newer program compared to Oportunidades and one of the largest programs of its kind in the world. With the Seguro Popular, 25% less money was spent on health services by the patients themselves. There were 15% fewer cases of people falling into poverty because they had to pay for a major health treatment.
And there are many smaller social protection programs that increased the quality of life of Mexicans – but there is still room for improvement, World Bank analysis shows. Coverage gaps concern the elderly and the youth, but also people that face crises in their family or communities – like unemployment or losses after a natural disaster, for example.
According to analysis done by the World Bank, much progress has been made to make these programs more efficient, but there is still work ahead to improve the services for those most in need.