Franco, Martín Hopenhayn and Arturo León have explored the changes to the middle class in Latin America between 1990 and 2007, using analysis combining the occupation of the main household breadwinner and family income. They conclude that, up to the crisis of 2008, the number of middle class households and their average income grew thanks to these three factors: higher GDP of countries, falling poverty and a slight improvement in income distribution.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) concluded that a total of 128 million people from 10 Latin American countries had moved up to the economic level categorized as middle class.
“The number of middle class households and their average income grew thanks to three factors—higher GDP of countries, falling poverty and slight improvement in income distribution,” said ECLAC.
“The aspiration of the people is to participate in the this new consumer space at a level that allow them to be identified as being part of the middle class,” it said.
The strongest growth was found to be in Brazil and Mexico where 28 million and 14 million people respectively moved up to the middle class during the years from 1990 to 2007.