Poverty in Latin America affects 32% of the total population; 28% are not in education or gainful employment, ECLAC reports
In Latin America and the Caribbean, about 200 million people live in poverty and 82 million live in extreme poverty, according to a report by the UN regional economic commission ECLAC. The figures equate to 32.1% and 13.1% of the total population, and need to be addressed urgently to avoid the risk of a lost generation.
Despite the slight decline recorded in 2021, forecasts show that in 2022 Poverty and extreme poverty levels remain higher than pre-pandemic levels in Latin America and the Caribbean, warns 2022 in the social panorama.
“2020 with a sharp increase in poverty and a slight increase in income inequality due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2021 levels of extreme poverty and poverty have decreased and middle-income groups have grown, but not enough to turn things around. the negative effects of the pandemic,” the report explains. ECLAC predicts that by 2022 by the end of 2018, poverty will be 32.1% of the population (a percentage corresponding to 201 million people) and extreme poverty will be 13.1% (82 million), indicating a modest decline in overall poverty. an increase in extreme poverty compared to 2021 due to the effects of overall economic growth, labor market dynamics and inflation.
These figures mean that 15 million more people will be living in poverty than before the pandemic, and that 12 million more people will be living in extreme poverty than in 2019.
The regional organization emphasizes that in 2022 the projected extreme poverty rate is a 25-year recession for the region.
As in previous years, ECLAC indicates that poverty is higher in some population groups in the region: more than 45% of children and adolescents live in poverty, while women between the ages of 20 and 59 experience lower levels of poverty. higher than that of men in all countries of the region. Similarly, poverty rates are much higher for those of indigenous and African descent.
in 2021 income inequality (measured by the Gini index) in Latin America decreased slightly compared to 2020, reaching 0.458, which was similar to 2019.
Meanwhile, in 2022 The unemployment rate is projected to be at a 22-year low, particularly affecting women, whose unemployment will rise from 9.5% in 2019. to 11.6% in 2022
In addition, Latin America and the Caribbean experienced the longest educational disruptions in the world (an average of 70 weeks of school closures compared to 41 weeks in the rest of the world), increasing already existing inequalities in access, inclusion and quality of education. During this period, one of the main constraints to educational continuity was unequal access to connectivity, equipment and digital skills. in 2021 In 8 of the 12 countries in the region, more than 60% of poor people under the age of 18 had no contact in the household.
In addition, in Latin America, the percentage of young people aged 18 to 24 who are neither studying nor in paid work increased from 22.3% in 2019. to 28.7% in 2020, especially young women (36% of them were in this situation). compared to 22% of men).
Central Government Social Expenditure in 2021 In Latin America, it reached 13% of GDP, which is lower than in 2020. level, but significantly exceeding the level recorded in the last two decades. Caribbean social spending in 2021 reached 14.1% of GDP, which is a historical record.
in 2021 In Latin America and the Caribbean, education expenditure was 4.1% of GDP (30.5% of total social expenditure). “Although public spending on education in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries averaged 4.9% of GDP in 2019, similar to the region (4% of GDP in 2019), spending per student in the OECD is six times higher than in Latin America and the Caribbean the level of preschool education, 5.7 times primary, 5.3 times secondary and 6.1 times higher education,” the publication states.
“We are facing a cascade of crises that have increased inequality and disadvantage in the region. This is not a time for gradual change, but a time for transformative and ambitious policies,” ECLAC Executive Secretary José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs emphasized.