SANTIAGO – More than 10 percent of Latin Americans live in extreme poverty, the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said in a report released on Tuesday.
The study, based on figures from 2017, found that while the proportion of poor people remained stable at 30 percent, the number of those in extreme poverty continues to rise, thus prolonging a trend observed since 2015.
That 10.2 percent reading – representing 62 million people – is the highest for the region since 2008, according to ECLAC, which expects to see little improvement when the 2018 statistics become available.
“Even when the region made significant progress between the last decade and midway through the present, since 2015 there has been a regression, chiefly in the category of extreme poverty,” ECLAC Executive Secretary Alicia Barcena said during the presentation of the report in Santiago.
In some countries, reduced poverty goes hand-in-hand with an increase in wages earned by low-income families, while in other nations the main factor has consisted of pensions and transfer payments.
“This confirms the importance of providing more funding for the part of the population living in poverty, combining an increase in workers’ wages with the provision of transfer payments and a strengthening of social security systems,” ECLAC said.