food program in BoliviaPoverty rates in Latin America have dropped to their lowest levels in 20 years, according to a new United Nations report which points to higher wages as a key factor in the continent’s development despite the global economic crisis.

Between 1990 and 2010, the poverty rate decreased 17 percent, while the rate of indigence – or extreme poverty – fell from 22.6 percent to 12.3 percent.

The decline in both rates is mainly due to an increase in wages, according to the latest report by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). Public money transfers were also a contributing factor, but to a much lesser extent.

“Poverty and inequality continue to decline in the region, which is good news, particularly in the midst of an international economic crisis,” said ECLAC’s Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena.

The report also forecasts that the poverty rate will continue to drop in the next year.

The report reveals that public spending, and in particular social expenditure, received a significant boost in most countries over the past 20 years.

Countries with substantial drops in poverty in the past year include Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, Uruguay and Colombia.

The report also discusses fertility in the continent, observing that over the past 50 years, the fertility rate dropped rapidly, compared with a moderate drop in adolescent fertility.

(Source: UN News)

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