Poverty rate has decreased signifcantly from 48.4 % in 1990 to 27.9 % in 2013 and extreme poverty has declined from 22.6% to 11.5 % in the same period, according to a report “Social panorama of Latin America” released on 5 December by ECLAC ( Economic Commission for Latin America and Caribbean), a UN organisation based in Santiago, Chile. The other highlights of the report are:
The rate of poverty reduction has slowed down in the region in recent years due to the impact of the global financial and economic cris, the fall in commodity prices and slower domestic growth., The per capita GDP growth in 2012 was just 1.9% in 2012 as against 3.2% in 2011 and 4.5% in 2010.
Venezuela tops the list with the largest drop in poverty reduction. Brazil, Peru, Argentina and Ecuador have also seen significant fall in poverty. On the other hand poverty rate has gone up in Mexico.
Inequality in income has reduced in Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia and Uruguay while it has increased in Paraguay, Panama and Costa Rica.
Share of social spending as a percentage of GDP in 21 countries of Latin America and Caribbean has gone up from 12.5% in 1992-93 to 19.2% in 2010-11. The share of social spending as a percentage of public spending has also increased from 50 % in 1992-93 to 65.9 % in 201-11 in the same group of countries.
The credit for the reduction in poverty and inequality in Latin America goes to the proactive poverty alleviation programmes of the Leftist governments in the region. Brazil’s Bolsa Familia is a role model for the region and for the world too.
The region needs to keep up its Leftist orientation in the coming years since even now poverty rate is substantial. The number of people living below the poverty line in Latin America is 164 million accounting for 27.9 percent of the total population. The number of people who are extremely poor in the region is 68 million representing 11.5 % of the total population.