Development in Latin America in 4 Graphs

Development in Latin America in 4 Graphs, The Laboratory of Development, David Steven, Alejandra Kubitschek Bujones

Over the past year CIC has been exploring development trends and policies in Latin America and the Caribbean. The region is a particularly interesting study of development policies because, as we noted earlier, it has implemented innovative programs that combine poverty reduction and social inclusion.

The UNICEF in Latin America and the Caribbean office asked us to assess the region’s progress on children’s rights in advance of the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. We looked at overall development trends in the region, identified policies that have had a major impact, and listed major challenges that the region will have to confront in the post-2015 development era. You can find the results of our study here, but below we share a few graphics that highlight the development trajectory the region has experienced in recent decades.

1. Economic Growth

The region’s economy has experienced strong growth since 1990, and eight countries have seen per capita GDP grow by more than five-fold. There have been steep reductions in poverty; economic growth accounted for more than two thirds of the region’s poverty reduction in the past decade. Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama have made the fastest progress in reducing $1.25/day poverty.

2. Life Expectancy

There have been substantial gains over the last half-century, and children have made the greatest health gains with drastic decreases in under-five mortality rates. Cuba, Peru, Brazil, El Salvador, and Uruguay have made especially impressive progress.

3. Education

Latin America and the Caribbean are close to achieving universal access to primary education. Net enrollment has climbed by 13 percentage points since 1990 to 95%. However, dropout rates are high, with 17% of children dropping out before the final grade.

4. Violence

Levels of violence remain high. Homicides in the region climbed from 63,000 in 1995 to 110,000 in 2011. Central America and the Caribbean are the only two global sub-regions that have seen an increase in homicide rates during that period. Only six countries (Chile, Suriname, Cuba, Argentina, Uruguay, and Antigua and Barbuda) fall below the world’s average homicide rate of 6.9 per 100,000.

For more information on where these numbers came from and which social policies have been most effective in advancing children’s rights, read the whole report here:

The Laboratory of Development: The Impact of Social Policies on Children in Latin America and the Caribbean

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Jun 11, 2014
Ashley Skiles