Social Panorama of Latin America 1999-2000

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What are the objective reasons why so many Latin Americans do not feel safe and see themselves as being defenceless? Does the Occupational stratification engendered by current patterns of development promote social mobility and the growth of the middle class? In an effort to answer these questions, this publication examines the deterioration of conditions in the labour market. It also looks at the available means of accessing social services, with emphasis on the types of public policies needed to tackle the problems of social vulnerability and poverty. It presents analysis of occupational stratification, indicates what percentages of the labour force fall into high-, middle- and low-income groups and explores how these phenomena are related to educational and household income levels. It also discusses how the level and coverage of pension systems affect income distribution in Latin America.



Introduction: The challenges of ageing population

Demographic structures are changing all over the world, and one of the most far–reaching implications of this change is the overall ageing of the population. This means that the proportion of persons aged 60 and over is increasing, particularly as a result of ever–lower birth rates and substantial increases in longevity. Consequently, every arena of life is facing new challenges, which can be evaluated in three fundamental spheres: the market, society and the State. In the first sphere, the ageing population brings change both to the labour market and to goods and services markets, especially for health care and recreation. In the social sphere, it obliges families to develop new forms of organization and requires that the community and civil society offer more innovative, diverse responses to challenges of well–being, social integration and use of leisure time posed by older adults. Finally, the State is faced with the greater demands that an ageing population places on health and pension systems and must respond to social tensions associated with the financing needs of these systems, changes in intergenerational relations of economic dependency and greater competition for jobs.


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