Latin America’s Decline in Poverty Rates Has Stalled

Poverty affected 167 million people in 2014, 2 million more than 2013. Similarly, 71 million suffered extreme poverty or indigence, an increase of 2 million over the previous year.

Posted on 02/5/15
A family makes its way down a mud-filled road in Vila Da Canpas in the Amazon region of Brazil, near Manaus. For many, the only transportation available is by foot. Brazil. (Photo by Julio Pantoja / World Bank, Creative Commons License)
A family makes its way down a mud-filled road in Vila Da Canpas in the Amazon region of Brazil, near Manaus. For many, the only transportation available is by foot. Brazil. (Photo by Julio Pantoja / World Bank, Creative Commons License)

“Poverty affected 28 percent of Latin America’s population in 2014, revealing that its decline has stalled at around that level since 2012, while indigence rose to 12.0 percent from 11.3 percent during the same two-year period in an overall context of economic deceleration”, revealed the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in its report “Social Panorama of Latin America”, presented on Jan. 26.

 

The ECLAC said that in absolute figures and taking in account the demographic growth, in 2014 the poverty affected 167 million people, 2 million more than 2013. Meanwhile, 71 million suffered extreme poverty or indigence, an increase of 2 million over the previous year.

 

“The recovery from the international financial crisis does not seem to have been taken advantage of sufficiently to strengthen social protection policies that reduce vulnerability in the face of economic cycles. Now, in a scenario of a possible reduction in available fiscal resources, more efforts are needed to fortify these policies, establishing solid foundations with the aim of fulfilling the commitments of the post-2015 development agenda,” said ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, Alicia Bárcena.

 

In addition to analyzing poverty in terms of income, the 2014 edition of this annual study presents a complementary and multidimensional measurement that covers five areas: housing, basic services, education, employment and social protection, and standard of living (which refers to monetary income and the possession of durable goods). According to ECLAC, a person is considered poor if he or she is lacking simultaneously in these areas.

 

“Despite the minimal changes in terms of rates, the new estimates show that extreme poverty has returned to the levels estimated for 2011 and thus lost some of the ground gained in previous years,” the inform said. “This is nothing new — the data set out in previous editions of ‘Social Panorama’ have shown similar trends. According to regional estimates, the downtrend in the rate of poverty and extreme poverty slowed and even reversed in the early years of this decade. This, combined with population growth, pushed the number of extreme poor up for 2013.” —Latinamerica Press.

 

LATIN AMERICA

Poverty and indigence 2013
(Percentages)*

Country
Poverty
Indigence
El Salvador
40.9
12.5
Dominican Republic
40.7
20.2
Paraguay
40.7
19.2
Ecuador
33.6
12.0
Venezuela
32.1
9.8
Colombia
30.7
9.1
Peru
23.9
4.7
Panama
23.2
12.2
Brazil
18.0
5.9
Costa Rica
17.7
7.2
Chile
7.8
2.5
Uruguay
5.7
0.9

* Information available in 12 countries based on household surveys.

Fuente: ECLAC.

 

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