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New Edition of ECLAC’s Statistical Yearbook Offers a Set of Regional Statistics on the Three Pillars of Development

The 2019 edition of the Commission’s annual report presents a select set of indicators on the social, economic and environmental situation in Latin American and Caribbean countries.

7 April 2020|Press Release

The Statistical Yearbook for Latin America and the Caribbean 2019, an annual report released today by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), presents a statistical overview of the sociodemographic, economic and environmental development of the region’s countries.

This publication, available on ECLAC’s website, is a reference for those seeking comparable descriptive statistical data between countries and over time. The current edition contains information that was available through mid-December 2019.

The Statistical Yearbook 2019 is divided into three chapters. In the first one, demographic and social aspects are explored, including indicators on population, work, education, health, housing and basic services, poverty and income distribution, and gender. According to this data, the population of Latin America and the Caribbean surpassed 648 million inhabitants as of 2019, with 81% living in urban areas and a life expectancy at birth of 75.2 years.

In 2018, the average neonatal mortality rate for Latin America and the Caribbean was 9.1 deaths for every 1,000 live births. This average is the result of great heterogeneity among countries, whereby some have a neonatal mortality rate equivalent to half of the regional average, while others have a rate that is three times higher than the regional average.

The report indicates that participation in the educational system declines considerably as children and young people make their way through formal education. While children from 7 to 12 years of age almost universally attend an educational establishment, this rate falls to around 80% among young people aged 13 to 19, and marks just 40% among people from 20 to 24 years of age. The situation varies the most depending on household income levels in this last group, since attendance rates among young people in the highest-income quintile are double that of young people in the lowest quintile.

Gender inequalities can be plainly seen in patterns of labor and educational insertion. The percentage of young people from 15 to 24 years of age who do not attend educational centers or participate in the labor market is below 10% among men, whereas it is nearly 26% among women. Two out of every three women who neither study nor have employment find themselves in this situation because they are in charge of caregiving and domestic work at home. In comparison, this situation affects just one out of every nine young men.

The second chapter of the Yearbook presents economic information referring to national accounts, balance of payments, foreign trade and price indices, among other indicators. The report shows that in 2018 the region’s average annual GDP per inhabitant at current market prices was $8,383 dollars, with similar values in Latin America and in the Caribbean.

Meanwhile, the current account balance marked a deficit of just over $125.6 billion dollars (2.4% of regional GDP).

With regard to intraregional trade, in 2018 intraregional exports accounted for 15.4% of the region’s total exports, while intraregional imports represented 15.7% of total imports. Meanwhile, the terms of trade indices in the region (using 2010 as its base year) rose 2.7% for Latin America and the Caribbean in 2018 when compared with 2017.

The report’s third chapter offers environmental statistics and indicators from the region. These include metrics on physical conditions; land cover; ecosystems; biodiversity; environmental quality; land; energy, water and biological resources; emissions; disasters; human settlements; and environmental regulation and governance.

In one year alone, the proportion of protected marine waters vis-à-vis all exclusive economic zones in Latin American and Caribbean countries increased by 50%, rising from 13.4% in 2017 to 20.1% in 2018, thanks to protection measures taken in Chile’s Patagonia region. With this development, our region has met target 11 of the Aichi Convention on Biological Diversity, along with target 14.5 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with regard to conserving at least 10% of coastal and marine areas by 2020. However, the heterogeneity seen among the region’s countries is worrisome, since only 8 of ECLAC’s 33 Member States have achieved compliance with that 10% threshold.

With regard to the impact of large-scale disasters in the region, their economic cost in 2018 is estimated at more than $4 billion dollars. In the last 50 years, 70% of the economic cost accumulated as a result of disasters corresponded to disasters related to climate change (hydrological, meteorological and climatological) – for example, hurricanes, flooding and drought.

The Statistical Yearbook is published in a print and electronic version, with some differences between them. In the print version, there is a selection of tables and graphs aimed at providing a summary of the statistical information from a regional perspective. The electronic version, meanwhile, includes a larger quantity of tables that provide more detailed information and refer to a much broader historical period; it also contains an additional chapter explaining methodological aspects and references to the data sources. This information is part of the set of statistics available on CEPALSTAT, the platform that gives access to all the updated statistical information on the region’s countries that is gathered, systematized and published by ECLAC, and which is currently undergoing a technological and functional revamp.

Given that most of the information in the Yearbook comes from national statistics offices, central banks, international bodies and other official institutions, ECLAC invites users to pay attention to the sources and the technical notes that are presented in this publication. The data is obtained using international methodologies and standards with the aim of ensuring the greatest possible comparability between countries, which means that these figures may not necessarily coincide with national data.

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