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Can Latin America’s Middle Class Stay Afloat?

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|   By James Fredrick   |
If you earn at least 410,000 Colombian pesos (U.S. $165) per family member, per month, you are considered middle class. In Mexico, you may be middle class if you have a credit card with a 1,500-peso (U.S. $110) limit. If you can buy a brand new car in Argentina, you’re probably middle class.
Regardless of the country-to-country details, it’s now widely accepted that Latin America and the Caribbean have a middle class, a definitive sign of progress for the region.
“Never before has the region experienced distributional changes so important as those experienced in the past 10 years,” said Marcos Robles, senior research economist at the Inter-American Development Bank’s Social Sector.
A concoction of national, regional, and global factors came together to give birth to this group.
But looking ahead, those initial drivers may be gone, at least for a while.
In 2014, all major economies in Latin America grew less than their average in the early 2000s. Some even shrank.  With a slew of recent problems in Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela (just to name a few), will the middle class be lost?
How did we get here? 
While there is plenty of debate over the way to determine the middle class, many economists have accepted an income-based approach. According to the IDB, if you earn between $10 and $50 per day (all figures in adjusted purchasing power parity), you are considered middle class in Latin America.  The line was drawn there …

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