How socially inclusive is Latin America?

For the second year, Americas Quarterly has ranked Latin American countries and the United States based on social inclusion, sifting through multiple data sets for 16 nations, including variables like access to education, housing, and employment, as well as basic political, civil, and human rights. Here are some of the highest and lowest ranking countries and emerging trends:

By , Correspondent

1. Why 'social inclusion?'

The social inclusion index – which ranks countries based on how they score on each of the 21 variables – seeks to provide a picture of progress that goes beyond economic growth and poverty figures. It evaluates how well countries provide opportunities for their citizens to “enjoy a safe, productive life as a fully integrated member of society – irrespective of race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.”

Christopher Sabatini, editor of Americas Quarterly, a policy journal, says the index provides a more complete picture than can be drawn from looking at economic data alone. Some 50 million Latin Americans have lifted themselves from poverty to the middle class in the past decade, based on findings that suggest they earn $10 or more a day. “Being middle class is much more than that,” Mr. Sabatini says in launching the report.  “It’s about a sense of empowerment and is about having access to rights and things like social insurance, whether it’s health care or education. If you don’t have that, being middle class means very, very little.”

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