Failure to Break Cycles Of Poverty

A U.N. Development Program report on Latin America and the Caribbean finds that despite economic growth during much of the past decade, distribution of per capita income in Latin America is nearly as inequitable now as it was 20 years ago. In fact, Latin America is the most unequal distributor of income in the world, with an inequality index 18 percent higher than that of sub-Saharan Africa. Only 9.3 percent of Panama’s nonindigenous population is poor, but more than half of indigenous Panamanians and those of African descent live in poverty. Such disparities are similarly high in countries like Mexico, Bolivia, Guatemala, Paraguay, Brazil and Peru. Even more insidiously, poverty passes from generation to generation in the same households partly because a lack of education limits future employment opportunities. If countries really want to break the cycle of poverty, experts say, they must change their policies to address these internal inequalities.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Pope Francis leaves his general audience
Pope Francis promised "zero tolerance" in his remarks to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
Gerard O'ConnellSeptember 21, 2017
Rescue workers search for survivors in the debris of collapsed buildings Sept. 20 in Mexico City. The magnitude 7.1 earthquake hit Sept. 19 to the southeast of the city, killing hundreds. (CNS photo/Jose Mendez, EPA)
All the dioceses in Mexico were collecting food, water and other necessities for victims of the quakes and were seeking economic support from inside and outside the country.
Catholic News ServiceSeptember 20, 2017
The moment we begin to measure, we know nothing of love, know nothing of God.
Terrance KleinSeptember 20, 2017
There is only so much room—in our houses, in our hearts. At some point, we have got to let go.
Nick Ripatrazone September 20, 2017