Poverty Global Practice, The World Bank
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Poverty Global Practice, The World Bank
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Last updated January 31, 2023
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Teenage Pregnancy and Opportunities in Latin America and the Caribbean : On Teenage Fertility Decisions, Poverty and Economic Achievement(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012) Azevedo, Joao Pedro ; Favara, Marta ; Haddock, Sarah E. ; Lopez-Calva, Luis F. ; Muller, Miriam ; Perova, ElizavetaThe pregnancy project sought to expose the existence, and challenge the validity, of stereotypes about Hispanic women. The charade explored the underlying motivations of the many who responded with a wide range of reactions. The specific objectives of this regional study are: to establish a thorough description of the magnitude of the issue and its potential implications for social advancement; to advance the understanding of the risk factors, motivations and impacts at the household level-as a determinant of poverty and a cause of intra-and intergenerational poverty traps; to illuminate the coping mechanisms and their individual and social implications; to highlight the gender-related issues that have historically provoked asymmetric costs to boys and girls; and to provide elements that support specific policies on this matter. In the last decade, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) have been moving in the right direction and the region has experienced important gains in gender equality of endowments (assets) and economic opportunities. In most LAC countries, girls have been achieving gender parity in primary school enrollment and even outperforming boys at the secondary and tertiary level. The present report reviews the factors associated with teenage pregnancy and early childbearing and builds a framework to explore these issues systematically, towards the design of effective policy interventions in LAC. Teen pregnancy and early childbearing remain a challenge in the region, particularly given the association of these phenomena with poverty and lack of opportunities, and the concern that it may prevent women from taking full advantage of their human development assets and opportunities. The main message of the report is that poverty and lack of opportunities are key factors associated to early childbearing.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2013) Ferreira, Francisco H.G. ; Messina, Julian ; Rigolini, Jamele ; López-Calva, Luis-Felipe ; Lugo, Maria Ana ; Vakis, RenosAfter decades of stagnation, the size of Latin America's middle class recently expanded to the point where, for the first time ever, the number of people in poverty is equal to the size of the middle class. This volume investigates the nature, determinants and possible consequences of this remarkable process of social transformation. We propose an original definition of the middle class, tailor-made for Latin America, centered on the concept of economic security and thus a low probability of falling into poverty. Given our definition of the middle class, there are four, not three, classes in Latin America. Sandwiched between the poor and the middle class there lies a large group of people who appear to make ends meet well enough, but do not enjoy the economic security that would be required for membership of the middle class. We call this group the 'vulnerable'. In an almost mechanical sense, these transformations in Latin America reflect both economic growth and declining inequality in over the period. We adopt a measure of mobility that decomposes the 'gainers' and 'losers' in society by social class of each household. The continent has experienced a large amount of churning over the last 15 years, at least 43% of all Latin Americans changed social classes between the mid 1990s and the end of the 2000s. Despite the upward mobility trend, intergenerational mobility, a better proxy for inequality of opportunity, remains stagnant. Educational achievement and attainment remain to be strongly dependent upon parental education levels. Despite the recent growth in pro-poor programs, the middle class has benefited disproportionally from social security transfers and are increasingly opting out from government services. Central to the region's prospects of continued progress will be its ability to harness the new middle class into a new, more inclusive social contract, where the better-off pay their fair share of taxes, and demand improved public services.