Wealth Inequality in LatAm Increased During the COVID Pandemic

While extreme poverty in Latin America reached its highest level in the last two decades with an increase of 12.5%, the number of billionaires in the region has gone up by 40% since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

The wealthiest people in Latin America have managed to further increase their wealth thanks to the re-evaluation of stock markets during the pandemic.

The latest data from Forbes magazine confirms these facts, noting that in Latin America and the Caribbean, the number of billionaires has shot up 40% since the pandemic began.

At the beginning of 2020, when the virus had just broken out, and no one could yet imagine what was to come, 76 Latin Americans had  $1 billion USD or more in assets, with a combined wealth of $284 billion. In the 2021 list, published in March, there were a total of 105 billionaires with combined assets of $448 billion. And in the latest update in mid-May, there were already 107 with combined assets of $480 billion.

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In recent years this list has been headed by Mexico’s Carlos Slim (owner of América Móvil), who, with his family, has a fortune of $70 billion. Second is Germán Larrea (of Grupo México), whose net worth is estimated at $26 billion, followed by Brazilian Jorge Paulo Lemann (Anheuser-Busch InBev) with over $20 billion.

According to data analysis carried out by experts of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), three-quarters of Latin American billionaires are Brazilian or Mexican nationals, the most populous countries in the region.

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UNDP economists warn about the consequences of the concentration of resources in the hands of a few. “When the concentration of resources translates into a concentration of political power, as is often the case, it can lead to a vicious circle that perpetuates these results and distorts both policies and the allocation of resources,” stated the UN organization.

On the other hand, a study carried out by international organizations and the United Nations, published on May 24, indicated that extreme poverty in Latin America reached its highest level in the last two decades, increasing by 12.5%.

According to the report, the number of people unable to cover their basic food needs has increased most significantly in Honduras (26.1%), Mexico (18.3%), and Ecuador (12.8%), figures that were increased significantly in 2020 due to the impacts of the pandemic.

Featured image: The GOP in the US is following the example of Latin America: more wealth inequality, insufficient oversight of commerce, a poor safety net, and official corruption—build tall fences around your luxurious mansions. Photo: Twitter @_News_Matt




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