The Lopsided Continent: Inequality in Latin America

Kelly Huffman, Miguel Angel Centeno

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

163 Scopus citations


Latin America has the most unbalanced distribution of resources of all regions in the world. This review defines a set of common elements characterizing social structures on that continent, suggests some lines for analysis and theorizing, and supports the integration of regional studies into broader discussions of stratification. We begin with an overview of the situation on the continent as a whole, including a short discussion of the relationship between poverty and inequality, where we also address some concerns with data availability. We then devote a section each to class, gender, and race. We conclude by identifying three critical factors that explain Latin American inequality: its position within a global economic system, internal colonialism with maintenance of racial categories, and the underdevelopment of state structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-390
Number of pages28
JournalAnnual Review of Sociology
StatePublished - 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Class
  • Comparative stratification
  • Gender
  • Race


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