LIMA – More than 50 percent of Peru’s 30 million inhabitants belong to the middle class, a sector that continues to expand despite the country’s economic slowdown, the representative of the Inter-American Development Bank, or IDB, Fidel Jaramillo, said on Saturday.
“In the latest IDB report we noticed an interesting phenomenon. Using the 2014 Household Survey, we determined that the middle class is between 50.6 and 53 percent of the Peruvian population,” Jaramillo said on radio station RPP Noticias.
Jaramillo said that in 2014, when Peru’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew 2.35 percent – the lowest rate since 2009 – the middle class continued to expand.
“It’s one of the few countries in Latin America that has stayed with that trend,” he said, adding that over the past few years the IDB has witnessed a “very important expansion” of the so-called “new middle class.”
The IDB representative said that his organization has followed “this phenomenon very closely,” because they consider the existence of a “strong, solid middle class very important for any society, not only in Peru but in all Latin America.”
“There is empirical evidence that large, strong middle classes help boost the quality of education and healthcare, but also to build societies that are more diverse, more inclusive and with less inequality,” he said.
Peruvian authorities say that this year the nation’s economy will grow close to 4 percent and that it will subsequently stabilize at around 5.5 percent annually, thus approaching the level of the last decade, when GDP increased on an average of 6 percent yearly.
Last March the Peruvian economy grew 2.68 percent, the highest rate in the last 11 months, driven by the mining, hydrocarbon, trade and telecommunications sectors, the National Statistics and Informatics Institute, or INEI, said Friday.
With this expansion, the accumulated growth of GDP so far this year was 1.73 percent, and 1.61 percent in the past 12 months.