|Dec. 21, 2017 -- After more than a decade of decline, poverty in Latin America is once again on the rise, driven in part by economic crises in Venezuela and Brazil, according to a report released here by a UN agency on Wednesday.
Following 12 years of falling numbers, the poverty rate has increased two years in a row, growing 29.8 percent in 2015 and 30.7 percent in 2016, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) warned.
ECLAC's report, entitled "Latin America's Social Panorama 2017," says the number of people in the region that live in poverty is now at 186 million, including 61 million in extreme poverty.
2017 is expected to see a similar rate in rising poverty to 2016, but with a million more inhabitants suffering from poverty, due to demographic growth.
However, the increase is not across the board, with most countries making improvements, said ECLAC Executive Secretary Alicia Barcena.
"Why is it increasing in the region? Basically it's due to two countries, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Brazil," Barcena told reporters at a press conference at ECLAC's offices in Mexico City.
Many other regional countries have seen a decrease in the poverty rate since 2014. Poverty rose slightly in Paraguay, El Salvador and Ecuador, according to the report.