Mexico statistics agency accused of changing poverty survey

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Anti-poverty groups in Mexico are accusing the national statistics agency of arbitrarily changing the way it measures income surveys so poverty appears to be less of a problem.

The statistics agency defends it changes, saying it "improved" the way it measures income because it suspected people were under-reporting what they earn. According to the government poverty agency CONEVAL, the changes increased estimates of household income 11.9 percent nationwide.

The change makes this year's figures impossible to compare to previous years, frustrating attempts to track or study Mexico's poverty.

The civic group Citizen Action Against Poverty on Monday called the new system manipulating statistics and said it won't change the underlying problem.

In the group's words: "This 'improvement' doesn't change reality. People's incomes don't improve because they change the statistical formulas."