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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.

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Trends in social spending between 1990 and 2001

The effort that has been under way for more than a decade to achieve a steady increase in public spending in the social sectors is one of the outstanding features of development in the vast majority of the Latin American countries. As a result of this effort, the per capita resources allocated to education, health, housing and social security have increased by about 60% in real terms and their share of region–wide GDP has risen by almost four percentage points. Even though the region’s economic growth has slowed considerably and become more volatile in the past five years, per capita social spending continued to increase until 2001, although at a lower rate than in the initial years of the past decade.

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