Knowledge Note

Following steep declines in poverty rates over the past decade, the Latin America & Caribbean (LAC) region reduced childhood poverty by a third and childhood extreme poverty almost by half between 2004 and 2014. Despite these gains, children in LAC have seen slower reductions in poverty than the overall population and continue to be more likely than adults to live in poverty. The incidence of childhood poverty in Central America and the Caribbean remains the highest in the region. Important socioeconomic and demographic factors are behind the slower gains in poverty reduction for children. The high levels of childhood poverty have significant consequences for the future of the LAC region. Today’s childhood poverty has significant implications for tomorrow’s labor force, limiting their potential to gain the skills necessary to exit poverty as adults. To prepare children for tomorrow’s jobs, policies need to prioritize access to good quality education and basic services, including nutrition, healthcare, and water.

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