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Social Panorama of Latin America 2004

image of Social Panorama of Latin America 2004

The 2004 edition of the Social Panorama of Latin America analyses the major demographic changes that have occurred in the region over the past few decades, examines the socioeconomic status of Latin American youth, looks at institutional and programmatic guidelines for youth policies and describes how household structures and family roles have changed. As in past years, recent trends in poverty and income distribution in the Latin American countries are also reviewed.

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The demographic transition and ageing trends

The countries of Latin America and the Caribbean have experienced profound demographic changes, most notably a reduction in population growth (from an annual rate of 2.7% in 1950–1955 to 1.5% at present) and an increasing upward shift in age structures. One of the main factors underlying these changes has been the rapid drop in fertility, especially since the mid–1960s, which was preceded by a sustained reduction in mortality starting midway through the twentieth century; the result, today, is a life expectancy at birth of 72 years, which is eight years higher than the figure for developing regions as a whole.

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