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Topic Brief

Topic Brief

The Poverty and Inequality Group offers a number of analytical products and services to enhance our understanding on how to reduce poverty and inequality within the Latin America and Caribbean region.


Poverty and inequality analysis

Poverty and Inequality Analysis

to broaden the region's knowledge and incorporate that knowledge into policy discussions.

Poverty Assessments
Poverty Reduction Strategies
Poverty Maps



is an important dimension of many of the pressing socioeconomic issues confronting Latin American and Caribbean countries today.

Gender Analysis. Operations and
      Main streaming

Gender Impact Evaluation Initiative

Data and Statistics

Data and Statistics

to strengthen the capacity of producers and users of statistical inform-ation to ensure their highest quality and use, which can contribute in improved public policies for poverty reduction.

Team for Statistical Development

Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring and Evaluation

to learn from policy experiences via monitoring of social indicators and conducting impact evaluations.

M&E Systems
Impact Evaluation



 Economic Mobility

 Economic Mobility and the Rise of the Latin American Middle Class After decades of stagnation, the size of the middle class in Latin America and the Caribbean recently grew by 50 percent—from approximately 100 million people in 2003 to 150 million (or 30 percent of the continent’s population) in 2009. Over the same period, the proportion of people in poverty fell from 44 percent to around 30 percent. Economic Mobility and the Rise of the Latin American Middle Class investigate the nature, determinants, and possible consequences of this remarkable process of social transformation. The authors propose an original definition of the middle class, tailor-made for Latin America and centered on the concept of economic security. + More (Full Report)

 PLB August 2012

Over the last decade, Latin American countries have made big strides in reducing poverty and bringing down inequality. And much of that progress, we now know, can be credited to women. So much so that, had there not been so many women in the workforce, extreme poverty in the region in 2010 would have been 30 percent higher. Something similar can be said about the region's recent inroads against persistent inequality, as highlighted in Poverty and Labor Brief: The Effect of Women's Economic Power in Latin America and the Caribbean


Latin America has been singled out having some of the highest levels of inequality in the world, with an average Gini coefficient (a statistical measure of inequality) of about 0.53. However, an impressive reduction in income inequality started in the early 2000s, leading to significant poverty reduction.+ More (PDF English)           + More (PDF Spanish)

Poverty Assessment - Paraguay   

Paraguay Poverty Assessment Determinants and Challenges for Poverty Reduction. This report fills a knowledge gap on issues of poverty in Paraguay and builds on the effort by the National Statistical Institute to revise its official poverty measurement methodology through a transparent and participatory process. The report focuses on: (i) recent trends in poverty, inequality, income, and employment through 2008, with an updated annex through 2009; (ii) analyzes the determinants of poverty and inequality, and presents results for the Human Opportunity Index; (iii) presents the tendencies of the urban labor market and an analysis of the rural dimension of poverty; and (iv) simulates the ex-ante poverty impacts of extending two cash transfer programs in Paraguay.
+ More (PDF)



Gender Equity in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Roadmap for Action (FY12-FY14)
Over the last few decades, women’s social and economic position in LCR has experienced unprecedented change—narrowing, closing, and even reverting several gender gaps that have historically favored men. However, after reaching significant progress on basic indicators of gender equality, LCR countries are still grappling with certain issues of gender inequality in economic opportunities, human development assets and agency.
+ More (PDF)


Five Key Lessons for Latin America and the Caribbean from the Great Recession As 2011 comes to a close, the global economy is facing yet another economic slowdown. Based on household survey data from 2010 and labor market indicators through the third quarter of 2011, the World Bank draws key lessons from the impact of the Great Recession of 2008/2009 and the quick recovery on Latin America and the Caribbean’s poor and explores their implications for poverty reduction in the region going forward.
According to the new poverty and labor brief, On the Edge of Uncertainty: Poverty Reduction in Latin America and the Caribbean during the Great Recession and Beyond, even during the recession Latin America managed to reduce poverty levels. Then, as it quickly rebounded in 2010, poverty dropped even faster -- by 12.6 million -- and continued to decline throughout 2011. Today, we can safely say that moderate poverty in Latin America has dropped by 73 million since 2003.
+ More


 Una (R)evolución de género en marcha Este informe tiene por objetivo identificar los factores subyacentes al estancamiento de las tasas de participación femenina en la fuerza laboral, en contraste con la disminución de las brechas salariales y la mayor contribución al ingreso general, que se evidencian en América Central entre 1997 y 2006. Los resultados de este análisis pueden utilizarse para dar forma a políticas públicas que permitan acelerar el incremento de la capacidad femenina para participar en actividades económicas de manera que se beneficie no solo a las mismas mujeres, sino también a sus familias y a la sociedad en conjunto.
+ Book (PDF)

Book Cover

A Break with History: Fifteen Years of Inequality Reduction in Latin America Household income inequality in Latin America is on the decline. Latin America is today a more equal region than 15 years ago. From 1995 to 2009, income inequality fell across a range of inequality measures.
+ Book (PDF)

Book Cover

 Opportunities for Colombian Children: How Far Have We Come in this Decade? This report aims to shed light to the issue of the relevance of measuring how far Colombia is from providing equality of opportunity among its children and youth by answering questions such as: How unequal is the distribution of opportunities to access key goods and services for children in Colombia and across its regions? What have been the improvements in access opportunities of key public goods and services from 1997 to 2008?
+ Report's contents in Spanish (PDF)


  Book Cover 

Did Latin America Learn to Shield its Poor from Economic Shocks? The increase in poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean Region during the 2008-09 economic crisis was lower than expected and less marked than during previous crises that have affected the region.
+ Report's contents (PDF)

Book Cover

Challenges in Monitoring and Evaluation: An Opportunity to Institutionalize M&E Systems is a compilation of presentations on the challenges and lessons learned from M&E practitioners from around the world. It comprises best practices and knowledge from around the World that were showcased during the Fifth Annual Conference of the LAC M&E Network in 2009.
+ More about this Book presentation (June 9,2010)
+ Book (PDF)

HOI highlights  

The 2010 Human Opportunity Report for Latin America and the Caribbean
May 13, 2010 - The Human Opportunity Index measures how personal circumstances (birthplace, wealth, race or gender) impact a child’s probability of accessing the services that are necessary to succeed in life (timely education, running water or connection to electricity).
+ More           




 Peru Poverty Measurement  

Poverty Measurement in Peru
In March 2007, INEI requested technical assistance from the World Bank to solve the methodological and data collection issues. The World Bank team proposed the creation of an external Advisory Committee (AC) whose role is to oversee the work of an inter-institutional technical team.
+ More


 Community Driven Development in Indonesia - Exchanging knowledge with Bolivia Plurinacional
On May 6 a knowledge sharing video-conference took place with the participation of Indonesia experts on the Community Empowerment Program in Indonesia and the Bolivia government.
+ More


VI Conference of the Latin America and the Caribbean Monitoring and Evaluation Network (August 25,26 & 27, México City)
This annual conference main topic is "Using M&E Results in the Public Policy Cycle". The principal objective is to determine the balance between technical and political aspects in M&E practices in the region.
+ More | + M&E Network


+ Go to more Highlights


Topic Brief
Poverty and Inequality
- Poverty Assessments
- Poverty Reduction Strategies
- Poverty Maps
Data and Statistics
- Team for Statistical Development
- Socio-economic Database (SEDLAC)
Monitoring and Evaluation Network

Poverty Numbers in LAC
Topic Brief Countries

Featured Poverty Publications and Reports

Bolivia Plurinacional: Poverty Alleviation
Sixth Conference of the Latin America and the Caribbean Monitoring and Evaluation Network

Inequality of Opportunities
Innovation in Statistics
Creating Economic Opportunities for Women
Impact Evaluation "Juntos" Peru

Poverty Net
LAC (Central)
Related Information