|A World Safe from Natural Disasters - The Journey of Latin America and the Caribbean (PAHO-OPS, 1994, 111 p.)|
|Chapter 2: An overview of the region|
Currently Latin America and the Caribbean have a population of 450 million inhabitants; according to UN estimates, by 1995 the population of the Region will reach 482 million, accounting for 61% of the total population of the Western Hemisphere. By the year 2025, the population of Latin America and the Caribbean will reach a projected 650 million (Figure 2.1).
Figures 2.1, 2.2 based on data from UN Population Division. 1993.
Historically, the world's developing countries have had both high birth and mortality rates, which kept population growth in check. But in the last 40 years, advances in health care, sanitation, and education have contributed to reducing mortality of infants and children, resulting in increased population. While in Latin America the growth rate has dropped from 3% in the 1950s, to 2.1% in 1994, a large proportion of the population is under 15 years of age, and females are just reaching the reproductive age, so the current growth rate is not expected to diminish substantially until the year 2020.
The 10 most populated countries of the Americas, including North America - Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, and the United States - comprise 89% of the Western Hemisphere's total population. With the exception of Argentina, Brazil, and Canada, these countries are in the areas most vulnerable to seismic events in the Region.