The best places for women to live in Latin America and the Caribbean are Barbados and Cuba, according to a May report from Save the Children that looked at a variety of health, education, economic and political factors. The worst are Guatemala and Haiti.
The report ranked 165 countries, grouping them into three tiers: more-developed, less-developed and least-developed nations. Countries were compared based on seven factors, including risk of maternal death, female life expectancy, expected years of formal schooling for women, participation of women in national government, how much women are expected to earn compared to men and how many women use “modern” contraception, such as the pill, condoms, IUDs, sterilization and hormonal implants.
The United States was ranked the 19th best place to live for women out of the 44 more-developed countries, behind Spain (which ranked number 14) and much of Scandinavia and the land down under. The top five best countries for women were: Norway, New Zealand, Australia, Denmark and Iceland. All but one Latin American and Caribbean nation were listed in the less-developed category: Haiti fell in the least-developed.
In a region where it's not uncommon for women to earn less than half what a man makes, it's not surprising one of the biggest varying factors in Latin America and the Caribbean was women's income. Nicaragua and Honduras fared the worst, with women making 66 percent less than men. The Bahamas and Colombia did the best. In those nations, women are expected to earn 28 to 29 percent less than men do — which is better than the United States. Women here are expected to earn 38 percent less than men.
Another dividing factor for Latin America was the number of women who held seats in Congress. Though several nations in this region have enacted quotas to get more women on the ballots, the two that did the best — Cuba and Nicaragua — do not have quotas. Forty-five percent of Cuba's national government is represented by women, while 40 percent of Nicaragua's is. The countries least represented by women at the national level were Brazil and Panama with 10 and 9 percent, respectively.
Women with the highest life expectancies in Latin America are found in Chile and Costa Rica. In both countries, women are expected to live to 82, which is higher than the United States' expectancy for women of 81 years. The lowest life expectancy for women is in Bolivia, at 69 years.
Below is a full list, in descending order, as ranked by the Save the Children report.
Best Places for Women to Live in Latin America and the Caribbean:
Chile and Costa Rica (tied)
Panama and Peru (tied)
Trinidad and Tobago