Social Panorama of Latin America 2001-2002

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This publication explores issues related to the Millennium Development Targets and discusses whether Latin American countries may achieve the objectives unanimously adopted by members states of the United Nations for 2015.The book examines the region's ability to meet the targets for reducing extreme poverty and ensuring universal access to primary education under conditions of gender equality. Moreover, it looks at Latin American countries' potential to absorb the growing supply of skilled human resources and deals with the issue of social capital in terms of its potential and the limitations of poverty reduction programmes. Numerous tables, figures, and boxes are included to help illustrate data.



A snapshot of income distribution in the region

Labour remuneration, made up principally of wages and salaries, is the main component of family income in Latin America. Improving the distribution of income from this source, as well as that from property rents, calls for the implementation of policies which will help to increase the productive resources of the poorest sectors, and these normally only bear fruit in the medium or long term. Public transfers, in contrast, have more immediate effects, but their low incidence in total household income considerably reduces their distributive impact, although they undoubtedly have a significant effect in raising the living standards of deprived sectors. Moreover, heads of household continue to be the main breadwinners, in spite of the sustained increase in the contribution made by secondary recipients. In this respect, women's contribution to the household budget now amounts to a third of the whole, after having registered a significant increase in the 1990s.


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