Social challenges

COVID-19 and well-being in Latin America

16/11/2021 PNG

The COVID-19 pandemic has deepened existing gaps in opportunities and created new vulnerabilities in Latin America, leading to greater falls in life satisfaction.

Women’s jobs have often put them on the frontline, as Latin America collects the highest share of female health care workers in the world. Women are also over-represented in sectors that underwent greater disruption and job losses, and over 15% of female workers exited the labour market completely in 2020, compared with around 12% of male workers. In total, the negative impact of the pandemic on women’s labour market participation in Latin America is expected to wipe out a decade’s worth of progress.

COVID-19 also exposed vulnerable youth in the region to higher risks of disengagement and dropout from education and training and may increase the overall number of NEET youth. Although the reasons for disengagement and dropout are complex and change over time, COVID-19 may act as a potent multiplier through loss of motivation due to several factors, including breaks in education or training, loss of connections with supportive adults and peers, and increase in household poverty.

In this scenario, life satisfaction has fallen significantly for Latin American women, rural residents, young adults aged 15-29 and people with lower levels of educational attainment. This decrease was also bigger when comparing this focal group of 11 countries in the region to OECD countries in the same period.

See also: How’s Life in Latin America