Social Panorama of Latin America 2002-2003

image of Social Panorama of Latin America 2002-2003

The 2002-2003 edition of the Social panorama of Latin America explores issues related to many of the Millennium Development Goals. Three of the five chapters (on poverty, hunger and gender inequality) assess how likely it is that the countries of the region will succeed in meeting the targets in these areas agreed upon by the States Members of the United Nations for 2015.A chapter on social expenditure furnishes information on 18 Latin American countries and analyses trends in social spending over the last decade. The final chapter examines labour policy and singles out some interesting initiatives aimed at combating unemployment, poor job quality and underemployment.



Hunger and food insecurity: The scale of the problem in latin america and the caribbean

Around the year 2000, 18.5% of the Latin American and Caribbean population were extremely poor, 11% (close to 54 million people) were undernourished to some degree and nearly 8% of children under five exhibited a low weight–for–age. Although these figures indicate that hunger and food insecurity are a less dramatic problem in Latin America and the Caribbean than in other developing regions, the use of more precise indicators paints a more serious picture: undernourishment affects close to 22% of the population when it is measured on the basis of average rather than minimum calorie requirements, and close to 21% of all children suffer from moderate to serious chronic malnutrition. Differences across countries are also quite pronounced: undernourishment estimates developed by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) indicate that more than 20% of the population suffer from hunger in seven of the region’s countries, while no more than 5% of the population go hungry in another six countries.


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