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- At the end of World War II, poor health and deprivation were common in many of today's industrialized countries. The infant mortality rate in southern Europe in the early 1950s was 80 per 1,000 births, twice as high as in Latin America today (38 per 1,000). Strong economic growth and the Welfare State reduced it dramatically.
- The number of children dying before age five declined from 43 to 9 per 1,000 between 1960 and 1993. Life expectancy rose from 67 to 77 years between 1950 and 1990.
- Primary education is universal; secondary enrolment reached 86 per cent in 1990.
- On average, a woman had 3.6 children in the early 1950s and 2 by 1975. In southern Europe, the sharpest decline came after 1975. In Spain, fertility has dropped from 2.9 to 1.2 over the last 20 years.
- Children in industrialized countries now face new problems, such as sharply increasing divorce rates, erosion of community, greater dependence on television and increasing alcohol and drug abuse.
- Slow economic growth, rising unemployment, worsening income distribution and more single-parent families have led to an increase in child poverty since 1980. In the US, an estimated 20 per cent of all children are defined as living in poverty.
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