The Demography of Latin America and the Caribbean since 1950

Demography of the World's Regions: Situation and Trends
By José Miguel Guzmán, Jorge Rodríguez, Jorge Martínez, Juan Manuel Contreras, Daniela González


Covering Latin America and the Caribbean (more than fifty states and territories, 564 million inhabitants), this chronicle gives an overview of the main socio-demographic and health developments in the region since the 1950s. It includes a summary of census and survey data on each country, with statistics on population size and structure, fertility, nuptiality, mortality, migration, urbanization and education. For several decades, Latin America and the Caribbean have been engaged in a rapid process of demographic transition, attributable to the fertility decline from the early 1970s and a decrease in mortality which raised average life expectancy by 20 years between 1950 and 2000. It now stands at 68 years for men and 75 years for women. The rate of natural increase has slowed down rapidly (1.4% in 2000-2005), while net migration is affected by more massive emigration to destinations outside the region. Against a backdrop of general fertility decline (2.6 children per woman in 2000-2005), the models of early family formation have persisted. Among the so-called developing regions of the world, Latin America and the Caribbean have the highest level of urbanization (77% in 2005). Another specific feature of the countries in this region is the onset of population ageing, a phenomenon yet to emerge in sub-Saharan Africa, and in the Arab World and the Middle East, the regions covered in our two previous chronicles (Population, English Edition 5, 2004 and 5-6, 2005).

Go to the article on