Latin America and the Caribbean plus Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia” (United Nations, 2003d:46).

Regional Groups

Geographical Categories: The panel grouped developing countries into eight geographic regions, which were constructed from the geographic subregions used by the United Nations for its population estimates and projections (United Nations, 2003b). For the purposes of the panel report, Latin America and the Caribbean consists of two subregions (the Caribbean and Central America1 and South America), sub-Saharan Africa consists of two subregions (Western and Middle Africa and Eastern and Southern Africa), Asia includes three subregions (Eastern Asia, South-central, and Southeastern Asia, and former Soviet Asia, which includes eight former Soviet countries from South-central and Western Asia), and the Middle East combines two subregions (Western Asia and Northern Africa). Wherever the data coverage was deemed sufficient to allow population-weighted estimates by geographic region, these are the categories used. This was typically the case for the DHS survey data as well as for the UN data base on marriage prevalence.

Income Groups: The World Bank classifies countries (“economies”) into four economic groups. In 2000 the range for each of these four groups was as follows: low income (gross national income of $755 or less), lower-middle income ($756 to $2,995), upper-middle income ($2,976 to $9,266), and high income ($9,267 or more) (World Bank 2002b).2 Whenever the data allowed estimates by country income category, the panel used the first three country income categories described above.


Mexico is included in the Central America and Caribbean region even though in some international contexts (e.g., NAFTA) it is considered to be part of North America.


Gross national income is in current U.S. dollars converted using the World Bank Atlas method. The purpose of the Atlas conversion factor is to reduce the impact of exchange rate fluctuations in the cross-country comparison of national incomes. A full explanation can be found on page 380 of World Bank (2002b). Updates of country income groupings on the World Bank Website: as of September 30, 2002, led the panel to make a few adjustments to these country groupings, including shifting Korea into the high-income group (and therefore out of the developing country group) and adding East Timor in the low-income category, for which no data on income were provided in World Bank (2002b).

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