Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Poverty: Poverty in Latin America returns to pre-crisis levels

The number of poor people in Latin America will fall this year to 180 million – the pre-crisis levels seen in 2008 – thanks to robust economic recovery in most of the countries of the region, says a United Nations report released today.

The “Social Panorama of Latin America 2010,” produced by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), predicts that poverty and extreme poverty will be 1.0 percentage points and 0.4 percentage points lower, respectively, than in 2009, which was when the region bore the brunt of the international financial crisis.

“The region’s countries are showing resilience in terms of social variables that has not been seen in previous crises,” said ECLAC Executive Secretary Alicia B├írcena, as she presented the report in Santiago, Chile.

The report emphasizes that, despite the major repercussions that the global economic crisis has had in the region, poverty rose by just one tenth of a percentage point in 2009, from 33 per cent to 33.1 per cent.

The Commission says in a news release that poverty decreased between 2008 and 2009 in most of the nine countries in the study, including in Brazil, Paraguay, Dominican Republic and Uruguay, while it rose in Costa Rica, Ecuador and Mexico.

The report adds that inequality in the region has been reduced thanks to the rise in the labour income of poor households and public transfers aimed at reducing the impact of the crisis.

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