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Uruguay, Population

The people of Uruguay are predominantly of European origin, and many of them are foreign-born. They came chiefly from Spain, Italy, Brazil, Argentina, and France, although after World War II (1939-1945) some immigrants arrived from eastern and central Europe. Only about 5 to 10 percent are mestizos (persons of mixed European and Native American ancestry). None of the small original Native American population remains.

Uruguay has a large middle class, which developed in the 20th century, partly because the government employed a large portion of the population in white-collar jobs. These jobs afforded many people slow but steady upward social mobility, but they also created a considerable gap between the urban rich and the rural poor.

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