Position Papers
Sally Roever
Department of Public Administration, Leiden University (Netherlands)
Published in
Submitted by
Peter Midgley, gTKP
Related theme(s)
Urban Mobility
Latin America and Caribbean (LAC)

Street Trade in Latin America: Demographic Trends, Legal Issues, and Vending Organizations in Six Cities

This paper offers a review of street vending issues in six major Latin American cities: Bogotá, Colombia; Caracas, Venezuela; Lima, Peru; Mexico City, Mexico, Santiago, Chile; and São Paulo, Brazil. The paper examines three broad themes in each city. First, it explores demographic trends and working conditions among street traders, compiling available information on the size of the street vending population, its growth over time, gender and age breakdowns, and working conditions such as income stability and employment security. Second, it examines legal issues related to the governance of street trade in each city, including an analysis of laws, regulations and ordinances at the national, regional, and local levels. Where information is available, it adds an assessment of the effectiveness of those laws, the legal status of vendors, and the broader attitudes of the authorities toward street traders. Third, the paper compiles information on the extent of organization among street traders, with a focus on unions and other types of associations, and their strategies and effectiveness. The paper concludes by offering an outline of best practices emerging from the region. The analysis is based on data from national and international statistical agencies and secondary sources gathered through contacts with researchers in the region.