Latin America Takes 25 Years to Reduce Poverty to 1980’s Level

From 2002 to 2005, the Latin American countries presented the best performance in income distribution, reduction of unemployment and reduction of poverty since 1980.

That is what the report "Social Panorama of Latin America 2006", disclosed yesterday, December 4, in Santiago, Chile, by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Eclac), an organization connected to the United Nations (UN).

Despite the improvement, the Eclac says that the indices are still very high. "This long term vision shows that the region took 25 years to reduce the incidence of poverty to the levels of 1980," shows the report.

Two out of every five Latin Americans lived in conditions of poverty last year. The report also shows that in 2005, 15.4% of the population lived in a situation of extreme poverty or indigence. In all, there are 209 million poor Latin Americans, of which 81 million live in extreme poverty or indigence.

"These figures indicate decreases in rates of poverty and extreme poverty in numerous countries in the region, as compared to 2001 and 2002", says the report, and a more appreciable advance may be identified in indigence. The percentage of poor populations dropped 4.2 percentage points, it adds.

Eclac points out that this is the first time that poverty dropped below the levels of 1980, a year in which 40.5% of the population was considered poor and the rate of indigence dropped over 3 percentage points when compared to the 18.6 % of that year.

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