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Social Panorama of Latin America 2006

image of Social Panorama of Latin America 2006

In the last four years, Latin America has turned in its best performance in twenty-five years in economic and social terms. Progress with poverty reduction, falling unemployment, improving income distribution in several countries and a strong upswing in numbers of jobs are the main factors underlying the positive trend in a number of the region's countries. The first two chapters of in this report look at the way the main social indicators have behaved in the last few years. The following two chapters address matters that, for different reasons, have come to figure prominently on government agendas.

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Indigenous peoples: Who are they? how many are there? where are they?

In view of the international consensus definition of "indigenous peoples" (included in ILO Convention No. 169) and examining different instruments of statistical measurement, especially population censuses, significant changes have occurred in the last few decades. Whereas in the 1980 census round very few Latin American countries of the region included ethnic identity questions, in the 2000 census round they practically all did so, in response to the State obligations. When they were "objects" of policy it was assumed that indigenous peoples could be identified–indirectly and by non–indigenous people– by externally or culturally manifested features, particularly their language. Today, the principle of self–identification is applied, in accordance with their status as subjects of law.

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