It is time to start looking at the Middle Class

AUTHOR: Maria Clara Tamayo
DATE: 11/08/2014

Latin America has experienced a huge movement of their population into a new higher class. According to the World Bank, more than 40% of the population in Latin America became part of a new social class from the mid 1990s to the late 2000s. 

Two factors contributed to this movement: the region had a relatively stable growth as it was less affected by the 2009 global crisis and the economic inequality in the region decreased in some of the countries.  Chile, Venezuela, Paraguay and Brazil were the countries with the greatest improvements in terms of people moving from poverty into the middle class.  The region for the first time has more people in the middle class than people living in poverty. The middle class now accounts for 34% of the population. 

The demographic group that experienced more mobility was the one holding a secondary and tertiary degree and that live in urban areas. This group is now experiencing access to new goods/services and to better education, as they do not now have to worry about satisfying their basic needs. 

With more income available, people have more resources to invest in education.  The World Bank has concluded that in Latin America there is a strong correlation between the economic status of the parents and the performance of their children in school and in the labor market. A part of the middle class in Latin America can now afford to send their children to private schools, as the public education system still has gaps in quality standards.

The middle class will be the next group to focus in student recruitment in the years to come. There will be millions of children that attended private schools, but still could not attend a bilingual institution. They will need to improve their English level and/or will need to complement their education with a degree abroad in order to have better chances in the labor market .