Cuenca, Ecuador


The study is conducted in the city Cuenca, which has a population of over half a million and is the third most populous city in Ecuador. According to 2010 census, 65% of the population lives in urban areas, which implies that more than 330,000 people are residing in the city. Cuenca's population is also quite young; more than a third is under age 20, and only 6% are over 65 years old. Although the poverty rate is one of the lowest in the country at 5% (the national average is 24%, mainly in rural areas) it is still a problem, and more than half of the teenagers start to work at 10-14 years of age. Another important aspect of the city is the low spatial segregation regarding to income, which has forced us to work in very peripheral areas of the urban sector where the composition of the population is more homogeneous and essentially poor.

Research Team

Our collaborating partner in Ecuador is the University of Cuenca.

Elisa Chilet, Primary Investigator

Elisa Chilet has a degree in Biology and a Master in Tropical Parasitology from the University of Valencia (Spain) and a PhD in Public Health from the University of Alicante (Spain). Her research interests are focused in the study of health inequalities, especially gender inequalities. She also has participated as coordinator in the implementation of a Unit of Translational Health Research in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Alicante. Her collaboration with the University of Cuenca began in April 2014 as a researcher of the Prometeo Project of the National Secretary of Higher Education, Science and Technology of Ecuador. Currently, she is a researcher in the School of Medical Sciences, promoting activities to include the gender perspective in research. Contact Dr. Chilet.

Joan Arjona, Field Coordinator

Joan Arjona is a graduate in Political Science and Sociology from the University of Valencia (Spain) and a master in Territorial Dynamics and Development from Complutense University of Madrid. His first experience as a sociologist was involved in research on drug use in young people, working mainly on qualitative methodology from that moment onwards. He came to Ecuador in 2013 to work in community development and organizational knowledge management for an organization based in some of the most vulnerable and impoverished areas of the Ecuadorian coast. Since September 2014 he is a professor at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Cuenca. He has a special interest in urban sociology, especially fragmentation and inequality from a gender perspective.