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Montevideo, May 25th 2024 - 16:40 UTC



224 million described as poor in Latinamerica

Wednesday, December 1st 2004 - 20:00 UTC
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Poverty in Latinamerica and the Caribbean experienced a slight contraction, close to 1%, in 2003, although still far from reversing the general collapse of past years according to the United Nations Economic Committee for Latinamerica, Cepal.

Cepal's annual Social report of the region indicated that two million people will no longer be considered poor, meaning that the region's total will drop to 224 million with 98 million living in indigence.

According to Cepal's Secretary General Jose Machinea this means the region is back to 2001 when poverty extended to 43,2% of the region and indigence to 18,9%.

However these numbers are far from compensating the losses of previous years and in Mr. Machinea's words confirms Latinamerica as the region of the world with the most unfair wealth distribution.

Chile is the only country in the region that has kept to poverty reduction targets with Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama and Uruguay only accomplishing 56% of objectives.

On the other hand Argentina, Paraguay and Venezuela face some of the largest percentages of poverty and indigence since the early nineties.

Latinamerican and the Caribbean population in 1951 was 161 million, and jumped to 512 million in 2002 and should reach 695 million in 2025.

However there are encouraging facts, infant mortality, below 12 months, dropped from 128 per 1.000 in 1955 to 28 per thousand in 2000/2005.

Cepal's report also indicates that 20 million Latinamerican and Caribbean live abroad, 15 of them in the US.

Two thirds of immigrants in 2003 sent back home 35 billion US dollars, a sum which for many countries represents 10% of GDP and in others is equivalent to 30% of exports.

The report points out that Latinamerican youth now have better access to education but work opportunities have decreased.

In Bolivia, Costa Rica, Colombia, Honduras, Panama and Dominican Republic the number of women head of family has grown considerably and the traditional model of Latinamerican family with a working father and a mother at home, still persists but is no longer predominant in metropolitan areas.

Categories: Mercosur.

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