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Clases medias y vulnerabilidad a la pobreza en América Latina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Luis F. Lopez-Calva, Eduardo Ortiz-Juarez

Translated title of the contributionMiddle Class and Vulnerability to Poverty in Latin America
Original languageSpanish
Pages (from-to)49-70
JournalPensamiento Iberoamericano
Issue number1


King's Authors


This article offers an absolute definition of middle class, based on vulnerability to poverty. This definition is grounded on the fact that those who managed to get out of poverty will hardly be capable of entrepreneurship, creation or claiming consumption standard to emphasize their status. Therefore, it is critical to establish which income or wealth level puts individuals over the economical insecurity threshold. Taking into account the relevance of the currently used measures, this new definition tackles two important issues derived from the international measurement and comparison of middle classes. On the one side, it avoids comparing different family income or expenditures between countries. And on the other side, for middle income countries, it avoids including poor and vulnerable families into the identification of middle class. The results of the implementation of this new measure for Chile, Mexico and Peru for the last two decades, shows an important increase in the size of middle class, which suggests that in recent years, a larger number of middle class families have been less exposed to the possibility of falling into poverty, than it was the case two decades ago.

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