March 7, 2014
Latin America poverty rate at 30-year low
SANTIAGO, Chile — Growing job income helped lift one million people out of poverty this year in Latin America and the Caribbean, helping reduce the region’s poverty rate to the lowest in three decades, the UN’s economic body for the region said in report yesterday. Around 167 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean, or roughly 28.8 percent of the total population, lived in poverty this year, a sharp drop from a decade ago, according to Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.
“Poverty reduction was most related to increases in job-related income for poor households,” ECLAC said in its report. “Public and private transfers and other income helped, but less significantly, in reducing poverty.”
The region’s booming economic growth has helped cut poverty rates over the past decade. But the UN body recently estimated the region’s economic growth would moderate to 3.2 percent this year from 4.3 percent in 2011 and about 6 percent in 2010.
The UN body warned that the pace of poverty’s fall was easing in the region, chiefly due to low-quality employment and a reduced focus on social spending. The rate dropped 0.6 percentage points in 2012 from 2011, slowing its pace from a 1.6 percentage point fall in 2011 from 2010.
A decade ago, around 225 million people were considered poor, or 43.9 percent of the total population at the time, according to the report. The number of people in extreme poverty remained at 66 million in 2012, unchanged from 2011 levels.
Paraguay, the Dominican Republic and Colombia have some of the highest poverty rates in the region, while Argentina, Uruguay and Chile have the lowest.