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News > Latin America

Poverty In Latin America On The Rise After a Decade of Decline

  • Children in Paraguay walk in a slum area.

    Children in Paraguay walk in a slum area. | Photo: EFE

Published 3 January 2018

There was a decade of decline before poverty rose in 2015 and 2016.

The levels of poverty and extreme poverty have risen in Latin America in 2015 and 2016, after more than a decade of decline in the majority of countries in the region, according to a report by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Cepal).


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While in 2014, 28.5 percent of the region was in poverty — 168 million people — that number jumped to 29.8 percent in 2015, then 30.7 percent in 2016.

Extreme poverty, on the other hand, rose from 8.2 percent in 2014 (48 million people) to 10 percent in 2016 (61 million people).

Income inequality also decreased between 2002 and 2016. However, the pace of its decline has slowed down.

“...This growth has clearly been fostered by countries’ distributive and redistributive policies, such as tax reforms, minimum wages, pensions and transfers linked to poverty reduction strategies and to the expansion of social protection systems,” said Alicia Barcena, Cepal’s Executive Secretary, at a press conference in the organization’s offices in Mexico City.

Honduras and Paraguay are among the countries that have seen these rising levels of poverty.

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