Social Panorama of Latin America 2005

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The 2005 edition of the Social Panorama of Latin America analyses recent poverty trends and the increase in migrant remittances, together with their impact on the well-being of the region's population. The analysis seeks to explore the question as to whether the demographic transition taking place in the Latin American countries over the past 15 years has helped to narrow the long-standing gaps between different socio-economic groups' and areas' mortality and birth rates. Attention is also drawn to the magnitude of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Caribbean countries and to the reversal of its skewed gender distribution, which has had a devastating impact on households and the community at large. Finally, this edition looks at major changes in the health sector.



Impact of remittances on poverty and income distribution

In recent years, the flows of remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean increased significantly and in 2004 stood at US$ 45 billion. These resources caused different effects on the economy of countries as well as on the living conditions of their inhabitants. In particular, they enable a high percentage of remittance–receiving households to overcome indigence and poverty and, in some cases, substantially improve income distribution in that group. Nevertheless, since remittance–receiving households account for only a small percentage of total households, remittances only have a small impact on poverty and inequality levels of the population as a whole.


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