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Overview

Over the previous decade, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) had been characterized by sharp reductions in poverty and inequality, and an increasing middle class. Poverty reduction had been accompanied by strong income growth of the bottom 40 percent of the population, the World Bank’s definition of shared prosperity. However, about one quarter of the population continues to live in poverty while inequality—both in income and opportunities—in the region remains high. In addition, the recent regional economic slowdown threatens to turn back many of the achievements of the previous decade.