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LATIN AMERICA
Not the poorest but the most unequal region
Latinamerica Press
3/23/2016
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Latin America has one of the most unequal income distributions in the world.

While poverty is linked to a population’s income, inequality has to do with distribution. In Latin America there are poor and middle-income countries with high levels of inequality.

The World Bank has used the Gini Index, updated in 2015, to measure inequality. It finds that medium-low income countries, considered poor, as in the case of Guatemala and Honduras, have almost the same level of income inequality as medium-high or high income countries, such as Chile.

“Gini index measures the extent to which the distribution of income (or, in some cases, consumption expenditure) among individuals or households within an economy deviates from a perfectly equal distribution,” the World Bank explained. “A Gini index of 0 represents perfect equality, while an index of 100 implies perfect inequality.”

Reducing inequality is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), adopted on Sep. 25,  2015 by the United Nations (UN) to replace the Millennium Development Goals, whose term came to an end last year.

While there has been significant progress in reducing poverty, the UN says, there is increased income inequality within countries, in addition to the wide disparities in access to health and education and other productive assets.

“There is growing consensus that economic growth is not sufficient to reduce poverty if it is not inclusive and if it does not involve the three dimensions of sustainable development — economic, social and environmental,” the UN says.

According to the UN, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals — No poverty; Zero hunger; Good health and wellbeing; Quality education; Gender equality; Clean water and sanitation; Affordable and clean energy; Decent work and economic growth; Industry, innovation and infrastructure; Reduced inequalities; Sustainable cities and communities; Responsible consumption and production; Climate action; Live below water; Life on land; Peace, justice and strong institutions; and Partnerships for the goals — and 169 targets “seek to build on the Millennium Development Goals and complete what they did not achieve. They seek to realize the human rights of all and to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. They are integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental.” —Latinamerica Press.


LATIN AMERICA

Inequality index 2013
 

Country
Gini Index*
Uruguay
41.9
Argentina
42.3
El Salvador
43.5
Peru
44.7
Dominican Rep.
47.1
Ecuador
47.3
Bolivia
48.1
Paraguay
48.3
Costa Rica
49.2
Chile
50.5
Panama
51.7
Brazil
52.9
Colombia
53.5
Honduras
53.7
*0 represents perfect equality, 100 represents perfect inequality.

Source: World Bank

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