Minimum Reference Budget for St. Maarten

June 4, 2020

The goal of this ongoing research is to establish Minimum Reference Budgets for St. Martin.
The research project, Minimum Reference Budgets (MRB) for St. Martin, is a collaborative effort of the University of St. Martin (USM), the St. Maarten Anti-Poverty Platform (SMAPP), and the National Institute for Family Finance Information (NIBUD).

The proposal was delivered to the Government of Sint Maarten in November 2019, and research partners are currently waiting for a response.

With a minimum reference budget, one can determine what kind of individual household income is necessary and what adjustments can be made in households' spending patterns to meet basic needs. MRBs will be determined for diverse household categories. MRBs can also be used as the basis for poverty measurements and the eradication of governmental poverty policies.

NIBUD will collaborate with USM and SMAPP, with its expertise in research methodology, to establish MBRs and a poverty line for St. Martin. MBRs are the basis for the Social Cultural Planning bureau’s (SCP ) poverty measurements in the Netherlands.

In 2014, the Dutch Caribbean NIBUD conducted similar research for the government of Bonaire. The research project took approximately 60 days and resulted in a publication used by consumers for budget information purposes and government entities to provide cash assistance and guidance. The publication also contributed valuable input regarding policies to eradicate poverty and inequality.

In 2018, USM and the St. Maarten Anti-Poverty Platform (a coalition between the Windward Islands Chamber of Labour Unions, the St. Maarten Seniors and Pensioners Association, and the St. Martin United NGO Federation) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for partnership in the study and research of poverty and socio-economic inequality on St. Martin. This research project plan is meant to contribute to two points agreed upon in the MOU between parties:
1. To research issues related to poverty and socio-economic development on St. Martin.
2. To conduct research that will assist in establishing the official poverty line.


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