Peru posted one of the biggest declines in poverty in Latin America in 2011, falling 3.5 percentage points from the previous year, according to the United Nations.
The UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, CEPAL, said that Peru’s poverty rate declined to 27.8 percent in 2011 from 31.3 percent in 2010, state news agency Andina reported.
The country’s poverty rate has fallen steadily over the past decade thanks to continued economic growth —more jobs and better wages— and government aid programs. In 2002, 54.7 percent of Peruvians were living below the poverty line and since that year spending on social programs has increased by 50%.
The UN said that seven of 12 countries surveyed in Latin America saw a decline in their poverty rates last year. Paraguay led the decline, down 5.2 percent, followed by Ecuador (-3.7 percent), and Peru at 3.5 percent lower. Colombia’s poverty rate fell 3.1 percent, while Argentina’s declined 2.9 percent. Poverty in Brazil and Uruguay also declined, the UN said.
According to Alicia Barcena, executive secretary of CEPAL, the current poverty and destitution rates in Latin America are the lowest in three decades. Today, there are 167 million people living in poverty in the hemisphere, one million less than last year.
The UN said it expects poverty to continue falling this year.
“According to the projections for positive economic growth and moderate inflation for 2012, poverty will continue its tendency downwards, even though at a slower rate seen until now,” it said.