Colombia’s poverty rate has fallen by 10% in eight years, following a Latin American trend, said a United Nations report released Wednesday.
The Social Panorama of Latin America, by the Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean, ECLAC, said the proportion of Colombians living in poverty dropped from 54% in 2002 to 44% in 2010. Extreme poverty rates dropped from 20% to 15% in the same period.
The decrease followed a regional trend, with the overall poverty rate in Latin America falling from 44% in 2002 to 31% in 2010. The extreme poverty rate decreased from 19% to 12% over the same period.
The Colombian 2010 poverty figure is in line with the rate given by Colombia’s National Planning Department before it began using different assessment methods which led to a controversial drop in the rate from 46% to 40% in August 2011.
A comparison of 18 Latin American countries for the years around 2002, 2009 and 2010 shows a downward trend in the poverty rate of all nations between 2002 and 2009.
However there was an increase between 2009 and 2010 in Venezuela, Mexico, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic.
The report also looked at income distribution, which improved in Colombia between 1990 and 2002 but worsened between 2008 and 2010. Only three countries improved their income distribution between 2008 and 2010 Ecuador, Paraguay and Dominican Republic.
A UN report released last year said Latin America was the most unequal region in the world. Income inequality in the region is 65% higher than in high income countries, 36% above the Far East and 18% higher than Sub-Sahara Africa.
The correlation between fertility and education was also assessed. In Colombia, as in Brazil, Peru and Bolivia, increases in educational attainment contributed to falling fertility rates over a 15-year period.