The 1998 edition of the Social Panorama of Latin America presents poverty estimates for 17 countries around 1997 together with data on changes in income distribution, employment and social spending. The main factors influencing poverty trends in the various countries are examined, and the ways in which these trends are affected by the type of economic growth occurring in each nation are explored. A general discussion is also presented of income distribution and of the changes observed in indicators of urban and rural household income concentration. This edition of the Panorama also analyses trends in employment and unemployment, particularly with regard to the entry of young people and women into the labour market, job creation and labour absorption in various sectors, and how they relate to productivity and income levels. Sectoral trends in public social expenditure during the 1990s, their heterogeneity and their characteristics during various .subperiods are discussed. Determinants of these trends are identified, the progressivity of such expenditure, by sector and by socioeconomic stratum, is assessed, and the possibilities of sustaining the existing level of expenditure in the coming years are explored. In view of the influence that teachers' salaries exert on educational expenditure levels, information is provided on recent trends in the wages of instructors in primary and secondary schools and on how they compare with pay levels for other professionals. The region's performance in terms of the goals established by UNICEF for the year 2000 is evaluated, and trends are examined as they relate to factors that undermine the well-being of children and adolescents, such as child labour and teenage pregnancies. The chapter on the social agenda looks into the relationship between violence and a lack of public safety, criminal behaviour and the socio-economic profiles of victims and aggressors. This discussion is supplemented by a presentation of the views of city officials in 14 urban centres concerning the main issues and initiatives in this field, together with a description of a number of successful experiences.