Wednesday, August 22nd 2012 - 05:24 UTC

UN: Latam 20% richest earn on average 20 times more than the 20% poorest

The gap is widening between the rich and poor in much of Latin America which is the world’s most economically unequal and its most urbanized region, the UN said Tuesday. The richest 20% of the population now earn on average nearly 20 times more than the 20% poorest, a study by the UN Human Settlements Program (UN-HABITAT) found.

Luxury under siege by the urbanized poor in any Latam city

“The main challenge is how to combat such huge disparities in the cities” where eight out of ten of Latin America's 589 million people live, said Erik Vittrup, the UN-Habitat expert who presented the report.

Inequality has grown in Colombia, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, Argentina and Guatemala, according to the study, with Guatemala claiming the title as the country with the greatest disparity between the rich and poor.

The countries with the most equitable spread of riches are Venezuela, Uruguay, Peru and El Salvador. “Income inequality is extremely high. There is a considerable job deficit and a large labour informality affecting mainly the young and women,” the UN said.

Despite some progress recorded over the past decade, 124 million people live in poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean cities. More than half of them live in either in Brazil or Mexico.

Urban areas are projected to keep growing, with nearly nine of ten people expected to live in cities by 2050, the study said, though the pace of the rural exodus has been slowing. However in the Southern Cone, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay will become the most urbanized area in the world with 90% of population living in cities but in only eight years time.

“Migrations are now more complex and occur mainly between cities, at times across international borders,” the UN said. However, the agency warned that cities are becoming increasingly less compact, expanding physically in an “unsustainable” pattern.

The study, titled “State of the Cities of Latin America,” found the urbanization rate is the highest in the farthest south, followed by Andean countries and Mexico, then the Caribbean and Central America.

It also noted a six-fold increase in the number of cities in the region over the past half century, with half of the urban population (222 million) living in cities with fewer than 500,000 people and 14% (65 million) in mega-cities with more than 5 million people.

The 50 main cities of Latin America have an annual GDP of more than 842 billion dollars and are the engines of the regional economy. The rapid expansion has also caused a severe housing shortage which jumped from 38 million in 1990 to anywhere from 42 to 51 million in 2011.

9 comments Feed

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1 Beef (#) Aug 22nd, 2012 - 07:06 am Report abuse
The Chavez or CFK models of solving this problem is simple. Make sure everyone is equally poor.
2 Frank (#) Aug 22nd, 2012 - 07:35 am Report abuse
Not everyone....... just everyone but those in the purple circle..
just slam the middle class back into poverty whenever they look like getting ahead....
Those of us from more socially advanced bits of the planet know that true democracy and equality rides on the back of a strong and growing middle class.
3 Ozgood (#) Aug 22nd, 2012 - 08:54 am Report abuse
Frank, you have really got to heart of the problem.
4 ManRod (#) Aug 22nd, 2012 - 01:10 pm Report abuse
Argentina named as the one of the nations with highest increase of inequality, while Chile is not being mentioned there.

Wasn't it the other way arround, according Kirchnerists?
5 ChrisR (#) Aug 22nd, 2012 - 09:01 pm Report abuse

Of course, but after all the Kirchneristas are lying bastards.
6 BAMF Paraguay (#) Aug 22nd, 2012 - 11:07 pm Report abuse
Personally I see nothing wrong with a few billionaires and the rest of the people making six figures. Sounds like a good deal to me.

This whole GINI index is the biggest bunch of crap I have ever heard of. Just some damn socialists that want everyone to be poor. Spread the wealth!! The rich will just keep working away like slaves!!! yeah f*ing right.
7 British_Kirchnerist (#) Aug 22nd, 2012 - 11:08 pm Report abuse
The Kirchnerist boom, especially coming from the artificially low base of 2001-3, was always more likely to tackle poverty than inequality itself. I hope that in her next few terms Cristina turns around the inequality situation. That she is so close to Venezuela, which the report lauds as one of the most equitable, is a good sign
8 Simon68 (#) Aug 23rd, 2012 - 05:51 pm Report abuse
7 British_Kirchnerist (#)
Aug 22nd, 2012 - 11:08 pm

Yes, in Venezuela everybody,except Chávez and his clique, is equally poor!!!!!!!
9 ChrisR (#) Aug 23rd, 2012 - 07:31 pm Report abuse
8 Simon68

Spot on.

BSK does not appreciate that if a society has 'super-rich' and 'rich' strata then it would be reported as dealing with inequality just the same.

He just cannot bear the fact that distributing a country's wealth to the poor is intrinsically bad for the country, not good.

Wealth creation for everyone is also seen as 'bad'. I think Codorito was overly generous when he downgraded him from AAA to AA Numpty.

LOL :o)

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