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Tenure Insecurity

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Ecuador is an Andean country in South America with a total land area of 256,370 square kilometres, a population of 17 million (64% urban, 36% rural), and GDP per capita of just under US$6,000. Ecuador’s poverty rate is 22.5%. The economy is export-driven, with oil playing the leading role; services and agriculture are the largest sources of employment.

Since the 1960s, Ecuador has carried out a range of agrarian reforms but land distribution remains inequitable; many rural properties also lack title or current records. Rapid urban growth in cities has resulted in complicated and shifting patterns of urban land ownership: in many cities, urban residents live on plots of land that they do not formally own. Indigenous communities have legal ownership of the land in their ancestral territories and the 2008 Constitution further strengthened land claims for indigenous groups. In many cases, these claims have not been recognised in practice, leaving indigenous lands vulnerable to unsanctioned mining, logging and oil exploration. Under law, women and men have equal rights to own land; in practice, fewer women than men have access to land.

Statistical Analysis

Prindex’s results show that 19% of respondents felt insecure about their tenure rights in 2018 – an equivalent of two million people aged 18 or over, and lower than the average of the first 15 countries surveyed. Sixty nine percent of the sample interviewed felt secure about their properties and the remaining 12% refused or did not know how to answer the question. Seventy nine percent of owners and renters reported the possession of formal documentation and 13% reported no documentation. Unlike in many of the other countries surveyed, there was no difference in perceived tenure insecurity between men and women in the hypothetical case of divorce and very little difference in the case of spousal death.

The tables and diagrams below show key Prindex results for Ecuador or you can download an infographic.


All respondents

All respondents

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Analysing Tenure Insecurity by category

Tenure type
Employment type
Income adequacy


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