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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Central America has few rich people, which means that pretty much everyone in the region is poor, or that wealth is evenly spread.

Or we can’t believe the numbers, especially if they come from government sources.

The region has 1,000 millionaires, according to the Ultra Wealth Report 2012-2013, published by Wealth X of Singapore.

There are 44 million Central Americans.

By contrast, Spain, with almost the same population, has 400,000 millionaires.

But any major Central American city is studded with residential communities, with thousands of homes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars each, often more.

One explanation is that the data understate wealth, because tax collection in the region is poor.

Guatemala had 215 millionaires last year, as did Honduras, followed by Nicaragua at 200 and El Salvador at 150, according to the report.

The region's most successful economies apparently have the lowest number of millionaires, both as a percent of population and in absolute terms – Panama with 115 and Costa Rica at 85, fewer than any Latin American country except communist Cuba.