Poverty Effects on Elder’s Lives in Latin American Countries

Term Paper, 2013

15 Pages, Grade: A


Table of Contents




Results and Findings


Factors Hindering Governments from Alleviating Poverty among the Elderly




Of all the existing third world regions, Latin America is considered the most developed, yet economic disparities that result in poverty and absolute poverty persist (Preston, 1996). Venezuela, Columbia, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, and Peru many more others are some the most adversely affected by poverty issues. But who does poverty affect the most?, According to many studies conducted regarding poverty, it has been found to affect mostly women, children and the elderly, the elderly of course, having to suffer the most because of the inability to generate income. What effects does poverty have on the elderly in Latin America? It is really a problem that has degenerated into a world concern, with policy makers getting more concerned with the increasing population of the aging (Cotlear, 2010). In order to fully understand the effects of poverty on the elderly in Latin America, specific countries such as those mentioned before, will be analyzed- their economic dispositions, besides their role in this particular problem.

The general poverty level in South America is something of world importance as it affects the general well being of the world economy. Specifically, this research paper will endeavor to address the effects of poverty on the elderly and mention possible solutions to this pressing problem. The method of data collection to be used during the research will feature qualitative and quantitative analysis. This will better enable the researcher present firsthand findings and evaluations of the problem and its effects. Considering the importance of this problem to the whole world, the implications of the findings will not only affect Latin America as a region alone, but the whole world, because poverty levels among the elderly in South America, ultimately contribute to the increasing world inflation. It is also wise to project other problems that may arise from ignoring this problem. Drugs and drug abuse which have been a common pestilence in Latin America especially Mexico, may never be prevailed over if poverty among the elderly as an issue is not addressed appropriately.


The elderly are an important link between generations, who provide vital support of pivotal importance to the young in the society. However, in most places in the world, they are the most neglected, and left to fend for themselves even though it is very clear they are in need of assistance. This research is important because through it, the plight of elders in one region (Latin America), will be scrutinized, with close attention being paid to their lifestyles after retirement, how they are able to sustain education for other family members, and exactly how different administrations in the region, have come up with policies (if at all they exist), to assist elders in the society cope with old age. The population increase in old age people is one of the issues that will be discussed in detail, with varying comparisons to different countries in Latin America.

Majority of the countries in South America are still developing or as many like to refer to them, third world. In this sense, distribution of national resources is usually a challenge. Now think of this challenge in relation to the elderly in Latin America. It is no wonder they mostly live in shanties, never mind all throughout their lives they have probably worked but have little to show in terms of savings. In most developed nations, there exists a system whereby the elderly in society may apply to be on welfare, and will thus survive for the better part of their latter life, exclusively on taxpayer’s money. However, as stated earlier, countries such as Brazil, Columbia, and Argentina have little to show in this respect. The situation affecting elders in Latin America gets worse if certain risk factors are assumed. For instance, it is very clear that elders in many countries suffer from strokes, and other elderly illnesses, such that they are unable to cater for themselves. So who is responsible for their health care? And exactly how is this achieved? What about in the case where the elderly are left with the young as a result of the deaths of the parents due to the prevailing HIV disease? We are all aware that HIV is mostly prevalent in third world countries.

Culture is part of life and cannot be ignored as a catalyst for a particular lifestyle by a particular people. It is no different for the population residing in Latin America. Culture influences thoughts about the elderly as an important institution to the whole society. As such, during the past, it was impossible for one to be of negative attitude towards elders in the society, due to the enormous respect they commanded. However, with the dawn of the 21st century, and consequently globalization, many, especially the young in the society have been shifting their attention from the local front, to the international front because of enhanced technology, and easy transportation arrangements. This in turn has resulted in the miserable lives the elderly in Latin America live, because all the young have either moved to the cities, or have immigrated to other countries in search of employment opportunities. Considering this, it is no wonder many elders especially those with disabilities, stay indoors as there is no one to ensure their mobility.

The general lifestyle of the elderly in Latin America can be divided in to three income levels: The lower income earners, middle income earners, and the elite in the society, who happen to own most businesses. According to recent studies, the level of dependence among these income brackets varies according to the number of family members. It is unfortunate that fertility seems to influence lower income earners to have children who exceed their means in terms of taking care of them. On the other hand, the upper income earners maintain only at most, two children and seem to stop at that. This has been a constant problem amongst many poor elders especially in urban centers in such as Buenos Aires and Sao Paolo. Larger households have been known to exert a bigger economic pressure on the heads of the families and this is something many elders in Latin America have to cope with day and night, until their demise.


In trying to effectively analyze the problem facing the elderly in Latin America, it was of paramount importance for the researcher, to ensure a detailed firsthand account of the nature of the problem. It is a fact that Latin America as a region, is made up of many countries that have this particular problem in common. However, to say it would be possible to look into the lives of the elderly in each country would only amount to wishful thinking. In this section, only countries with interest such as those mentioned before during the introduction will be featured. They include; Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Columbia.

- Poverty Among the Elderly in Argentina

Argentina is arguably one of the largest economies of South America. Of course Chile and Brazil also rank high in the region. To be specific, in Latin America, Argentina’s economy ranks third and is characterized by an upper middle sized economy. Factors that compliment this stability economically include: a highly literate society, and a variety of natural resources, coupled with a stable export- inclined agricultural sector. Of importance to note is the huge industrial potential, together with an existing ready market for its locally produced products. Now considering such an illustrious and stable economy, one would expect that national resources are made public, and shared evenly among the different communities residing in Argentina. However, this has not been so even historically. Although absolute poverty is unknown in Argentina, still it persists in high rates with most of the numbers being recorded among the lower class earners, consisting of mainly the poor and the elderly.


Excerpt out of 15 pages


Poverty Effects on Elder’s Lives in Latin American Countries
University of Canberra
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
534 KB
poverty, effects, elder’s, lives, latin, american, countries
Quote paper
David Kuria (Author), 2013, Poverty Effects on Elder’s Lives in Latin American Countries, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/280713


  • No comments yet.
Look inside the ebook
Title: Poverty Effects on Elder’s Lives in Latin American Countries

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free