Number of the week

Latin America’s middle class shrinks

The coronavirus pandemic has devastated an already narrow middle class in Latin America

poverty middle class
Couple in Yucatán, Mexico. ECLAC reports that 22 million people fell below the poverty line in 2020. Photo: Angel Bandala/Shutterstock

Welcome to “Number of the Week,” where we choose a single figure that helps us understand what is going on in Latin America. This week, we go through the numbers explaining how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the region’s middle class.

4.7million
fewer people in the middle class

The commodity super-cycle of the 2000s spurred economic growth in Latin America, leading to the surge of a “new middle class” in multiple countries. In 2018, the middle class — defined as people earning between USD 13-70 a day — became the predominant stratum in the region for...

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