The number of people in extreme poverty went from 81 to 86 million from 2020 to 2021, from 13.1% to 13.8%.
“The increase in poverty is taking place for the sixth consecutive year. Inequality has broken a trend, ECLAC had registered a downward trend that began in 2002, but now, coupled with the silent crisis of education, and very severe problems, this trend of inequality is now increasing”, explained Bárcena.
Among the countries with the lowest increases in extreme poverty and poverty are Bolivia, Mexico and the Dominican Republic, where these indicators grew by less than 2 percentage points.
The largest relative increases in inequality took place in Peru, Chile, El Salvador, Bolivia (Plurinational State of) and Colombia. In turn, in the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Paraguay, Mexico and Costa Rica, the distribution improved.
It is urgent to return to face-to-face classes
Additionally, worrying learning gaps have been generated by the suspension of face-to-face classes, “there are countries that have been without classes for two years, it is worrying that in the Latin American region there are 3.1 million students at risk of abandoning their studies,” he explained.
On average, about 56 weeks of total or partial interruption were recorded in the region, which has generated gaps in the development of cognitive skills, the loss of learning opportunities, and the risk of increased school dropout.
Likewise, the school closure has impacted on the overload of women’s care tasks.
For this reason, the safe return to face-to-face classes is urgent in 2022, underlines the United Nations regional commission.