How can the latest Survey of Living Conditions in Suriname help with the pursuit of development

Diether W. Beuermann

Diether W. Beuermann

To design effective policies that can improve the living conditions of households and individuals, it is crucial to keep track of the changing realities on the ground. Surveys are a powerful tool for that. In the case of Suriname, the country faced several challenges in the past few years. The country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, which reached its peak in 2014, plunged sharply in 2016, triggering a series of economic hardships.

To cope with the situation, Suriname adopted a tough macroeconomic stabilization program, while experiencing soaring inflation. On top of that during the COVID-19 pandemic, severe lockdowns took a heavy toll on the well-being of Suriname’s people. A phone survey conducted at the peak of the pandemic by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in August of 2020,  revealed alarming signs of worsening employment, shrinking businesses, and falling remittances.

Below we present how this survey was carried out and how it can shed light on the quality of life of Surinamese people.

The 2022 Survey of Living Conditions

In 2022, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) collected data for a new nationally representative household survey – the Survey of Living Conditions. Over a 12-month period, a questionnaire was administered to approximately two thousand, five hundred Surinamese households. The questionnaire queried many aspects of households’ current situation, such as health, early childhood development, labor supply, housing, migration, consumption patterns, income and expenditure, among others.


How was the data analyzed and what does it show?

The IDB and the World Bank jointly undertook initial data analysis, focused on poverty and inequality. To estimate poverty rates, research teams looked at the value of total daily real consumption and classified people as poor if this value lies below a certain threshold – the poverty line.

Estimating the total value of real consumption is challenging. The questionnaire asked households about a wide range of consumption and expenditures on food, non-food (think of clothing, energy, ICT and transportation), and housing.  It is not easy to condense this extensive and complex information for thousands of households. To see why, consider for instance food consumption. Households consume many different types of food. Some of this food is bought in shops, some of it is consumed in restaurants, and some of it may be produced by households themselves. And, to add to the complexity, due to high inflation a household had to pay SRD 15 in December 2022 for the same basket of goods that cost SRD 10 in January of 2022. Fortunately, best practices have been developed over the years in countries around the world to deal with these challenges. Read more…

WiConnect is the IDB Group’s georeferenced platform that allows knowing who does what, where and how in Latin America and the Caribbean with the purpose of advancing towards the sustainable growth of the countries. If you are not yet part of this community, REGISTER your organization NOW. You will be able to access more premium content, find out about scholarships and financing opportunities, connect with potential allies for your development projects and make your organization visible.
Diether W. Beuermann

Diether W. Beuermann

Diether W. Beuermann is a Lead Economist in the Caribbean Country Department of the Inter-American Development Bank. He has led research and data collection projects in various countries, including Barbados, Colombia, Guyana, Jamaica, Peru, Russia, Suriname, The Bahamas, Democratic Republic of Congo, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States. His research has covered the effects of different information and communication technologies on agricultural profitability, child labor, academic performance, pre-natal care, and neo-natal health.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join WiConnect