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Latin America Essay

1719 words - 7 pages

Poverty, or the inability to afford basic human needs, is an issue that is spread worldwide. There are people everywhere who cannot afford shelter, food, healthcare, or education. It seems easy enough to ignore the bum asking for change on the street, but it becomes near impossible in regions where whole families are begging on the street. This rings true in Latin America and it is extremely frustrating to see social inequality this extreme. This essay will examine how much poverty exists in Latin America, why the amount of poverty is so disproportionate and what can possibly be done to alleviate the amount of poverty in these countries.
According to Lopez (2000), the poverty level ...view middle of the document...

More recently, however, less than fifteen percent, or eighty million people, of Latin American citizens were living under those conditions (Gasparini & Cruces, 2013). Brazil, for example, has been able to reduce the amount of impoverished persons in its country, but still has a high level of poverty overall (Loyka, 2011). By taking certain measures, Brazil has decreased its poverty level by fifteen percent (Loyka, 2011). The level of poverty, in Latin America, is still unfortunately high and there are few countries whose poverty levels slightly compare. There are over one hundred and fifty million Latin Americans living on less than four dollars a day (Gasparinini &Cruces, 2013). Those living in highly developed countries would not dare dream of living by those means. The only places with similar poverty levels are some countries in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa (Gasparini & Cruces, 2013).
There are multiple reasons for the significant amount of poverty in the Latin American region. Lopes and Valdes () attribute the high poverty level in Latin America to three factors: the quality and quantity of assets, the geographical dimensions of the area, and low skill level and language barriers. The quality and quantity of assets is unquestionable. Despite limited access to new items (like those in rural areas) those who live in poverty cannot afford high quality items like shelter or new clothes. The most they can afford is to repair what has been damaged on their old items and objects can only last so long without regular maintenance. It almost becomes a cycle. Rather than saving money to buy new items, they are forced to repair what they already have. The geographic dimensions of those living in rural areas is also an important factor. There is little economic growth in these rural areas because the main economic activity is agriculture (Lopes and Valdes,). Urban areas tend to be more economically stimulant because they offer more services and manufacture more items at a higher rate. Rural citizens experience more poverty when these services are extended in rural areas. Lower manufacturing costs and manufacturing times infiltrate rural marketplaces who cannot compete and reduce non-agriculture related fields. Urban areas tend to be concentrated to certain places; so as the reach of these urban markets spread, the poverty level worsens. The rural population suffers from poverty because of low skill level and language barriers. Education levels are very low in rural Latin America (Valdes & Lopes,). It has been found that in Brazil, Honduras and Ecuador, rural citizens receive less than half the schooling than those in sprawling cities (Valdes & Lopes,). Children are unable to develop new skills because they cannot learn them in school. These forces them to work in areas that offer low pay and long hours. These jobs are often dangerous enough that young adults move to urban areas to seek other forms of employment. When...

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