Peruvians Living With Under $67 a Month Reach 11-Year High

(Bloomberg) -- The number of Peruvians categorized as extremely poor hit an 11-year high in 2023 — exceeding even the worst levels seen during the global pandemic — the national statistics agency reported Thursday, as a once booming economy goes bust.

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Peru’s INEI statistics agency said the extreme poverty rate in 2023 had risen to 5.7%, the highest since 2012. Overall, 1.9 million Peruvians are now living on less than 251 soles ($67) a month, the threshold for those categorized as extremely poor, more than double the number than in the year before the pandemic.

The overall poverty rate — those living on less than 446 soles — rose to 29%, slightly below the pandemic high of 30%. Both the poverty and extreme poverty rates have now risen for three years in a row.

The rising poverty rates underscore the real toll that Peru’s increasingly weak economy is having on its population. Peru’s death rate during the pandemic was the highest in the world and endless political volatility has curtailed economic growth.

Both factors help explain Peru’s downfall as a nation once hailed for slashing poverty rates that’s now confronting widespread financial hardship. Peruvian President Dina Boluarte has struggled to jump start growth, and a mix of anti-government unrest and bad weather pushed the economy into a recession last year.

Boluarte’s single-digit approval ratings make her one of the world’s most unpopular leaders, and she’s embroiled in a scandal over wearing Rolex watches that she could not afford on her presidential salary.

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