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.



Definitions, debate framework and research purpose

For the purposes of this work, broadly speaking demographic inequalities refer to three aspects of demographic change: (i) risk of early mortality, which is larger the lower the socio–economic level of individuals and communities; (ii) final fertility intensity (that is, the number of children women have) which increases as the socio–economic level of individuals and communities decreases; (iii) the timing of fertility which is biased towards earlier ages at lower socio–economic levels, as seen in adolescent maternity levels that decrease higher up the socio–economic scale. These three types of disparity do not cover the full, complex range of sociodemographic inequalities, but they do form the core of what are known as the “demographic dynamics of poverty”, and thus warrant particular attention.


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