This second edition of the Social panorama of Latin America is an expression of the ECLAC secretariat's continuing efforts to incorporate the social dimension into the Commission's annual appraisals of regional development. The present report covers twice as many countries as the first, and the information has been updated using the most recent figures made available to the secretariat by the countries concerned; in addition, data for intervening years and for the latter part of the 1980s have been included. In the aggregate, the information analysed here is sufficient to provide a fairly detailed picture of events during the 1980s in respect of major social issues. Although this overview does cover the most salient aspects of the region's social development during the 1980s, it does not claim to be a comprehensive report. A number of highly important aspects of social development -such as health, housing, social expenditure and recent trends in social stratification- are either not covered at all or are discussed only partially or indirectly. As will be explained more fully below, the range of information sources has also been quite limited, since most of the data used in the preparation of this edition of the Social panorama were drawn from household surveys. It is anticipated tha future editions'subject coverage and spectrum of basic information sources will be broadened.