Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Poverty is not going down in Latin America.

I quote from the article in The Economist that is the source of this chart:
FOR many Latin Americans the 21st century has been a time of unprecedented progress. Between 2002 and 2013, 60m people in the region moved out of poverty. The poverty rate—the share of people living on less that $4 a day—fell steadily. Now the progress has stopped (see chart). For the past three years, the poverty rate has stayed stubbornly at around 28% of the population, according to household surveys collated by the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). The proportion that is extremely poor (with a daily income of less than $2.50) has edged up, to 12%.
I lived in Latin America as a Peace Corps Volunteer, paid at the poverty level, but I also had free medical attention, and an additional $75 per month enforced saving that came to me at the end of two years service. I was not dependent on my income to raise children (and my wife, another Peace Corps Volunteer, received equal pay to mine -- and two live better on two poverty wages than one does on one poverty wage). Trying to live a decent life on $4 per day would be really hard. I think it would be impossible on $2.50 a day in Latin America.

It is really worrisome that progress on alleviating poverty has stopped, especially as the global economic system has not really been all that bad in the last few years.

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