Latin American Stall?

An ominous headline from The Economist:  Latin America’s progress has stopped

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%.


The trend varies slightly from country to country. Poverty has continued to fall since 2012 in Paraguay, El Salvador, Colombia, Peru and Chile, but has risen sharply in Venezuela, according to ECLAC.

Here are some figures:



FILED UNDER: Latin America, World Politics, , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. michael reynolds says:

    I swear I remember Weekly Readers (we used to get it free in school. Because I’m old, that’s why) 50 years ago proclaiming that Brazil and Argentina would soon take their place among the most consequential nations. And then, nope. They’re always on the verge of going big time. And never quite get beyond that point.

  2. @michael reynolds: Brazil has achieved such status (but still has profound problems). Argentina continues to struggle, but has made progress. Chile is probably the most successful, economically speaking.

    The region has made significant strides in the last two decades.

  3. lounsbury says:

    I wonder what the trend in LAC looks like ex-Socialist Paradises?

  4. Hal_10000 says:

    I’d like to see a breakdown by country to see which particular countries are struggling. We know that Venezuela is having problems. Curious if Bolivia and Argentina are also ragging things down compared to, say, Chile or Brazil.

  5. Andre Kenji says:

    Argentina is a completely different story from the rest of South America. They are a country that usually had a relatively high standard of living but that stagnated – they are still a country that defaulted on their debt. Peru, Colombia, Paraguay, Ecuador and Bolivia are countries that usually had low incomes that are growing and developing.

  6. MarkedMan says:

    I gotta agree with Hal_10000. Saying that “Latin America” is stagnating essentially equates Venezuela with Brazil and Agentina. Mexico with Peru. Why would that even be meaningful? Because most of them speak Spanish?

  7. Trumwill says:

    @Andre Kenji: Hey, Andre, I have a couple Brazil questions for you. Could you email me at my handle at