Mexico says poverty down to about 44 percent of population

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The Mexican government says poverty has declined, but still affects 43.6 percent of the population.

It says about 53.4 million of Mexico's 122 million people were poor in 2016, compared to 53.3 million in 2012. But population growth meant the percentage dropped from 45.5 percent in 2012, when President Enrique Pena Nieto took office.

The number living in extreme poverty who can't buy even basic items dropped from 9.8 percent of the population in 2012 to 7.6 percent in 2016.

Mexico's poverty-measurement agency said Wednesday that 17.5 percent of people didn't have sufficient income to buy enough food, down from 20 percent in 2012.

The poor are likely to be battered by this year's high inflation, currently running at 6.6 percent, the highest level since about 2001.