Wednesday, August 29, 2007
There is a great article in the Economist this week about the rise of the middle class in Latin America (article linked here). Although middle class is difficult to define the article suggests in Latin America middle class families earn between $6,000 and $20,000 dollars a year. The number of Mexicans meeting this measure doubled in the last ten years and the number of Brazilians went up 50% in the last five. This trend may in part to steady economic growth in the region over the last few year. The article also cites other factors such as remittances from abroad and programs that pay money to poor households for school attendance and take them to health care clinics. As someone who has studied many of these programs, it is likely that they are responsible for helping those who are most impoverished, although I am not as sure about them increasing the size of the middle class. I have not seen evidence as to what happens to the first generation of children who began these programs in their teens around 2000 and are now entering the work force. I have been meaning to write a paper on the subject, although I'm sure someone will beet me to it.