From the series Social Progress and Sustainability
Grade Range: 7th – 12th
Page Count: 80
Lexile Level: 1200L
Central America and the Caribbean may be best known as world-class tourist destinations, but in spite of being top vacation spots, the countries of these tropical regions still suffer the lingering effects of Europe's plantation-style colonization including income inequality, corrupt leadership, and discrimination against native peoples and the descendants of slaves. The regions are home to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the richest. Rich or poor, most countries have high rates of poverty and many areas are controlled by organized criminals and violent street gangs. Only two of the twelve most populated countries have poverty rates below 25 percent and only one scored a high level of social progress in the Social Progress Index. Challenges ahead include addressing extreme poverty, eliminating government corruption, stopping the spread of increasingly violent criminal organizations, and working toward ecosystem sustainability in the face of population growth and climate change.
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