6 Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty

Where are we?

 Woman benefits from UNDP programs in Peru


The region is well on the way to achieving the MDGs—and several countries achieved targets comfortably and before the deadline. Poverty has been reduced to the lowest levels in three decades.

In depth

During 2000-2010 the region went through its highest economic growth period in the last four decades. This economic boom, along with job creations and some of the world’s most innovates social policies brought almost a third of the total population in the region into the middle class status—with around 70 percent of them living in Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. This means that, for the first time, the size of the Latin American middle class (29 percent) is very close to the size of the region’s population living in poverty (31 percent).

But progress towards the MDGs is also uneven between countries—and within them. Therefore, average MDG achievement for countries with historical inequalities is insufficient. In the Brazilian states of São Paulo (Southeast) and Piauí (North), or in the Mexican states of Nuevo León (Northeast) and Chiapas (South) progress towards the MDGs is considerably different. To help address unequal performances, UNDP and other UN agencies have been partnering with governments in the region to assess and report progress in the state and municipal levels. For example, this has led Chiapas, Mexico’s poorest state, to adopt the MDGs as guidelines for local-level poverty reduction and other social programmes, resulting in improvements in education and health.

UNDP's work in Latin America and the Caribean

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Bar Chart
Targets for MDG1
  1. Reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day
    • Proportion of population below $1 (PPP) per day
    • Poverty gap ratio
    • Share of poorest quintile in national consumption
  2. Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people
    • Growth rate of GDP per person employed
    • Employment-to-population ratio
    • Proportion of employed people living below $1 (PPP) per day
    • Proportion of own-account and contributing family workers in total employment
  3. Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger
    • Prevalence of underweight children under-five years of age
    • Proportion of population below minimum level of dietary energy consumption