Thanks in part to a commodity boom, some 70 million Latin Americans rose out of poverty between 2000 and 2012. But the boom’s over and sluggish worldwide growth threatens to halt that trend, sending some tumbling back down from the middle class. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean’s (ECLAC) Social Panorama 2015 report, released last month, estimated that 175 million Latin Americans were living in poverty as of 2015, a figure that represents an increase of 7 million over the prior year. The rise is far from undoing the gains made since the beginning of the century, but ECLAC estimates that 29.2 percent of the region’s population is either poor or indigent—the highest levels since 2011.
As regional governments consider how to turn the trend back in the right direction, AS/COA Online looks at the latest data.