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[Unpublished] 1984 May 8. 31 p. (CE 92/12)This report shows how demographic information can be analyzed and used to identify and characterize the groups assigned priority in the Regional Plan of Action and that it is necessary for the improvement of the planning and allocation of health resources so that national health plans can be adapted to encompass the entire population. In discussing the connections between health and population characteristics in the countries of the region, the report covers mortality, fertility and health, and fertility and population increase; spatial distribution and migration; and the structure of the population. Focus then moves on to health, development, and population policies and family planning. The final section of the report considers the response of the health sector to population trends and characteristics and to development-related factors. The operations of the health sector must be revised in keeping with the observed demographic situation and the projections thereof so that the goal of health for all by the year 2000 may be realized. In several countries of the region mortality remains high. In 1/3 of them, infant mortality during the period 1980-85 exceeds 60/1000 live births. If measures are not taken to reduce mortality 55% of the population of Latin America in the year 2000 will still be living in countries with life expectancies at birth of under 70 years. According to the projections, in the year 2000 the birthrate will stand at around 29/1000, with wide differences between the countries of the region, within each of them, and between socioeconomic strata. High fertility will remain a factor hostile to the health of women and children and a determinant of rapid population growth. Some governments view the present or predicted growth rates as excessive; others want to increase them; and some take no explicit position on the matter. The countries would be well advised to assign values to their birthrate, natural increase, and periods for doubling their populations in relation to their development plans and to the prospects for improving the standard of living and health of their populations. An important factor in urban growth is internal migration. These migrants, like some of those who move to other countries, may have health problems requiring special care. Regardless of a country's demographic situation, the health sector has certain responsibilities, including: the need to promote the framing and adoption of population and development policies, in whose implementation the importance of health measures is not open to question; and the need to favor the intersector coordination and articulation required to ensure that population aspects are considered in national development planning.