The 1997 edition of the Statistical Yearbook for Latin America and the Caribbean contains a selection, updated to the end of December, of the main statistical series available on economic and social trends in the countries of the region. It represents a systematic effort of the ECLAC Statistics and Projections Division to harmonize the figures and make them internationally comparable. Part one consists of derived social and economic indicators (growth rates, ratios or coefficients) which provide an overview of each area of interest, along with the background material needed to make the information suitable for use in specialized analyses. Part Two provides historical series in absolute figures which can be used for a large variety of purposes. The majority of the statistical tables provide figures on a single topic, organized in such a way as to facilitate comparisons among countries as well as between individual countries and regional totals or averages. The tables on the balance of payments and national accounts are the only exceptions in this respect, since they have been prepared on a country-by-country basis. In most of the tables, the countries appear in alphabetical order; those for which there are no data or for which the amounts are zero or negligible are not included.