Whereas research on civic engagement with a European or North American focus usually assumes that a culture of participation thrives in healthy political and economic surroundings, the validity of this proposition has been questioned in the Latin American context. Instead, existing literature suggests that disadvantageous political and economic conditions spur participation in Latin America. In contrast to previous studies that investigate development and engagement with a focus on a specific local or national context in Latin America, this article takes a broad comparative perspective to test whether this—at first glance—counterintuitive result holds for the whole region. Multilevel analysis of 21 Central and South American countries corroborates the inverse association between development and engagement previously observed in selected countries. Further insights show that particularly affluent individuals and those who are rather comfortable with national and local politics are civically engaged in economically adverse contexts.