Support for regional economic integration among Latin Americans has increased to 74% in countries surveyed over the past 25 years, according to a new publication from the Institute for the Integration of Latin America and the Caribbean (INTAL) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
However, these levels vary significantly based on respondents’ age, gender, geographic location, and socioeconomic and educational background, the study reports.
One of the findings of the publication, entitled The Voice of Latin America: Public opinion on regional integration over the last 25 years, is that support for integration has improved as the region’s economies have grown. According to the report, for every 10-percentage-point increase in per-capita GDP, support for regional integration increases 2.3 percentage points.
The study draws on findings from the Latinobarómetro public opinion poll, which includes more than 225,000 data points from 18 countries collected over the last 25 years.
Other key findings from the study are:
- Support for regional integration has grown stronger over time. The percentage of people in favor of regional integration has grown in recent years, from 70% in 1995–2010 to 74% in 2010–2020.
- Young people lead the way in supporting integration. Historically, younger people have shown greater support for regional economic integration. Approximately 74% of people ages 15 to 36 are in favor of integration, compared to just 65% among people over 65 (regional average for 1995–2020).
- The higher people’s level of education, the greater their support for regional economic integration. The study found a gap of 24.5 percentage points between the highest and lowest socioeconomic segments of the population, and a gap of 24.6 percentage points between respondents who have completed higher education and those with a primary-level education (regional average for 1995–2020).
- Men favor regional integration more than women: the average regional gender gap is 7 percentage points (regional average for 1995–2020).
“This study shows that Latin American countries need to work on reducing gender, socioeconomic, and educational gaps if they wish to increase support for regional integration processes. Safeguarding macroeconomic stability and positive economic growth rates may also contribute to this goal,” said Fabrizio Opertti, manager of the IDB’s Integration and Trade Sector.
As INTAL Director Ana Basco observed, “Regional integration in Latin America is a process that requires ongoing commitment and a concerted effort by institutions, governments, citizens and international organizations. Strengthening support for integration among young people in the region and improving citizens’ trust in their governments could lead to more people favoring integration in Latin America.”
INTAL is part of the IDB’s Integration and Trade Sector.
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