In those early days, Latin America seemed to have greater physical resources than North America. Much of its gold, silver, and lead ended up in the ornate churches and chapels of the Catholic Church in Spain and Portugal. The population of Latin America was then more than three times larger; numbering 19 million, of which the original population of Indians, estimated at between 25 and 50 million in 1500, had been dramatically reduced. In 1945 the population of Latin America was 140 million. Between 1945 and 1960 the gross national product of Latin America averaged an annual growth rate of 4.9 percent. Despite immense population growth, illiteracy has been reduced from 50 percent to 25 percent. Between 1960 and 1970 the percentage of the poor fell from 51 percent to 40 percent and of the destitute from 26 percent to 19 percent.