By Roger Dendinger

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That program established rural clinics specializing in nutrition education and preventive care. It is only one example of the results of a sense of shared national destiny. Almost ten percent of the gross national product is spent on health care. Not surprisingly, the country has the highest life expectancy in Latin America, not far behind Canada and about the same as that of the United States. For men, life expectancy stands now at 75 years, and for women the figure is an impressive 79. q 11/21/02 4:43 PM Page 53 People and Culture the Western Hemisphere, outside of Canada and the United States.

Fifteen of the 22 reserves lie southeast of the Central Valley. Because of the remoteness of many of these lands, the government has not always been successful in keeping out nonIndians who occasionally enter the reserves to harvest tropical hardwoods or search for minerals. However, the government is committed to protecting the tribal groups. Costa Rica’s Indian people do not face the official persecution and informal discrimination that Indians in other parts of Latin America often do. In fact, the Talamanca tribes have made advancements that would be impressive even in the United States.

Q 11/21/02 4:43 PM Page 53 People and Culture the Western Hemisphere, outside of Canada and the United States. N. Human Development Index (HDI) combines economic policy analysis with population data such as life expectancy and level of educational attainment. The resulting numerical profile indicates the relative ranking of the world’s countries in terms of overall quality of life. N. ” A low score on the HDI indicates a high quality of life and political stability. For example, Sweden, one of the world’s most prosperous places, has an HDI score of 10.

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