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Latin America and the Caribbean
- Over the past 50 years, children in Latin America have benefited from two major advantages compared to those in other regions: better educated parents, especially mothers, and a high degree of urbanization.
- The net primary enrolment ratio for girls increased from 57 per cent to 87 per cent between 1960 and 1990. Their secondary enrolment ratio is 49 per cent, the highest among the developing regions. The gender gap at both primary and secondary levels is very small.
- The mortality rate of children under age five was 15 per cent in 1960 and 5 per cent in 1993, the lowest in the developing world.
- In 1981, 45 per cent of children were immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases; in 1993, the rate of immunization had increased to 80 per cent. Polio was eliminated from the region in 1994.
- On average, a mother had 6 children in 1950; in 1990, the average was 3.
- Interregional differences remain stark. A Cuban can expect to live as long as a Dane, whereas a Peruvian's prospects are not much better than those of a person in Botswana. In Brazil, a poor child is five times more likely to die before the first birthday than a rich child; in Venezuela, a poor child is 10 times more likely to be malnourished than a rich one.
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