From the series Social Progress and Sustainability
Grade Range: 7th – 12th
Page Count: 80
Lexile Level: 1160L
South America is a continent of great diversity, rich natural resources, and stunning beauty. South Americans share a dramatic history of rich civilizations lost to European conquest in the 1500s. Today, the region enjoys relative political stability and economic growth, but some areas suffer from uncontrolled crime, violence, and corruption. In general, South American countries score above the world average on the Social Progress Index. Two of the 12 countries of South America enjoy a high level of social progress; six countries have an upper-middle level; and three countries fall into the lower-middle range. Challenges for the future include addressing extreme poverty, improving basic services for rural populations, and ending routine discrimination against people of native or African descent. As one of the most ecologically biodiverse regions on earth, the countries of South America will need to make a united effort to prevent the extinction of the more than 6,000 species of plants and animals that are currently threatened on the continent.
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