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.



Progress and setbacks in the struggle against poverty

Over the past two years a group of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have succeeded in reducing their poverty levels, while in a number of others the positive trend observed in the first eight years of the 1990s has been halted. It must be assumed that in all of them there has been an increase in the percentage of households that are vulnerable to poverty, as they have been faced with growing income fluctuations and with restrictions on access to social services. The lack of job security affecting a high proportion of workers and the difficulty of gaining access to social security and unemployment insurance, at a time when open unemployment is on the rise and fiscal conditions remain tight, have contributed to this greater income variability and to the heterogeneity of poverty, and thus pose a major challenge for public policies aimed at overcoming poverty.


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