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Education, Avocados, and Mercado Libre
Welcome to Latinometrics. We bring you Latin American insights and trends through concise, thought-provoking data visualizations.
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Education in LatAm compared to the USA
Mercado Libre’s revenues over the years
Who produces the world’s avocados?
Make sure you check out the comment of the week at the bottom!
While Latin America has made impressive gains in primary education since the 70s, huge disparities remain. Inequality still persists, especially in the earlier and later years of schooling. When comparing school attendance for the richest and poorest segments of the region’s population, we see two important gaps:
Early childhood attendance: 5/10 kids from the poorest 20% vs. 9/10 in the richest 20%.
Secondary education attendance: 2/10 from the poorest 20% vs. 6/10 in the richest 20%.
Why does this matter? Because education is one of the main determinants of how productive people are and how much money they make, boosting human development and wealth.
Additionally, 21% of LatAm’s primary school teachers do not have a teaching degree. Many teachers also lack adequate initial education, especially in rural areas. For example, over 66% of preschool and primary school teachers in indigenous communities practiced without a degree in Mexico. Turning to Brazil, only 21% of 25-34 year-olds had a tertiary degree in 2019. Having a tertiary degree carries a considerable earnings advantage. Brazilians with a tertiary degree earned 144% more than those with only secondary education. And on a more positive note, 37% of Chilean women in the same age group had a tertiary qualification, compared to 30% of their male peers.
LatAm countries must emphasize boosting secondary and tertiary education to acclimate students to the workforce without disregarding early education. As the region incorporates into the global economy, jobs will require more familiarity with computers, knowing English, and a greater skill set to compete in globalized markets.
Mercado Libre broke another record this past quarter: it reported revenues of $2.6B. Mercado Libre's fintech branch — Mercado Pago represents 45% of that total. Months ago, we showed that the volume that Mercado Pago transacts is more than its E-commerce platform, which is the company's original business model and itself a giant in Latin America. Mercado Pago is also on track to bring more revenues.
Mercado Pago has made transacting through its fintech solution easier than no other, and secured its future growth in the process. You can order one of their credit card terminals and start processing payments literally on the same day. Mercado Pago will refund you what you paid for that terminal if you use it enough. Precisely that ease of use is what has made Mercado Pago one of the most robust fintech solutions in Latin America, appealing to a broad spectrum of customers.
Mercado Pago's products reach the vast untapped market of street vendors, for example. Accepting payments is just a small piece of their robust offering; by providing services like investment accounts, transfers, and credit loans, Mercado Pago is essentially a bank, and a massive one at that. More than 38M use Mercado Pago regularly. If Mercado Pago's users were a country, they would be Latin America's third-largest adult population.
It's no surprise that avocado is one of the most popular fruits in the world. The green, buttery fruit is touted as a superfood for its high levels of heart-healthy fats and nutrients, and it's one of the most versatile ingredients you can find at your grocery store.
Worldwide, avocado production has been on the rise since 2000, with a steady demand increase, especially in both the US and Europe. Mexico is responsible for producing the majority of these avocados. The US imports about 90% of Mexico's avocado supply and about 50% of global sales. In 2000, Americans ate an average of 2 pounds of avocado per person. Today, they consume over 9. Holy guacamole! 🤯 🥑
Despite the popularity of guacamole (esp. during the Super Bowl), there are only so many avocados available each year, and prices vary based on supply and demand. The US imported over $3 billion worth of avocados in 2021 alone, followed by France at $0.5B.
Colombia, Dominican Republic, and Peru have become major players in the avocado export market, multiplying their annual exports in the last few years— Colombia is in a race to become the world's 2nd largest exporter. But their production isn't just limited by climate factors like drought conditions or frosty winters. It can also fluctuate based on international trade agreements. Avocados are becoming a significant source of income for farmers in these countries, and experts predict that avocado exports will keep increasing in the coming years. So keep scooping up your favorite spread while you still can!
Realize Latin America’s Potential 🚀
Hand-selected job opportunities based on what we know about our audience
This week’s opportunity:
Mercado Libre has over 300 positions in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico. Check them all here.
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That’s all for this week 👋
Comment on the week in response to our LatAm vs. Europe population chart on Reddit:
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