Philippines falls below most Asian countries in UN human development index

10:14, October 06, 2009      

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The Philippines has fell below most of its Asian counterparts as it ranked 105 among 182 countries in the United Nations' latest human development index (HDI) released on Monday.

Although it showed a "slight increase" in the value of its HDI, neighboring countries like Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand and China have moved up faster in the rankings.

Singapore is ranked at 23, Brunei at 30, while Malaysia is at 66th place and has entered the high human development bracket in 2008. China has overtaken the Philippines and is now ranked 92 while Thailand is at 82 and Asia-Pacific state of Samoa is ranked 94.

The Philippines, which obtained an HDI value of 0.751, made it to the medium human development bracket. The ranking of 105 puts the Philippines in the league of Fiji and Tonga in so far as Asian countries are concerned. Globally, the ranking would be comparable to that of Algeria and El Salvador, the UN Development Program (UNDP) said.

The Philippines HDI of 0.751 is below the average of 0.770 for East Asia and the Pacific but above the average of 0.686 for medium human development countries.

Trailing behind the Philippines are fellow Southeast Asian countries Indonesia, which is ranked 111, Vietnam at 116, Laos 133, Cambodia 137, and Myanmar 138.

Life expectancy in the Philippines is 71.6 years while adult literacy rate is 93.4 percent. Combined gross enrolment ratio is 79.6 percent and GDP per capita is 3,406 U.S. dollars.

The Philippines' human poverty index is 12.4 with a 5.7 percent probability of not surviving to age 40 and an adult illiteracy rate of 6.6 percent from age 15 and above. People not using an improved water source is 7 percent and children underweight aged five and below stands at 28 percent.

The HDI is a regular feature of the UN Human Development Report, which is published annually. The HDI is a composite index covering education, health and income aspects of well-being in a country.

Essentially, it is a measurement of a country's ability to offer its people opportunities to improve their lives based on economic opportunities, and access to healthcare and education.

HDI is calculated by combining a country's gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, life expectancy, literacy rates and school enrolment at the primary, secondary and tertiary level to create a score from zero to one.

Countries occupying the top 20 in the HDI are: 1) Norway; 2) Australia; 3) Iceland; 4) Canada; 5) Ireland; 6) Netherlands; 7) Sweden; 8) France; 9) Switzerland; 10) Japan; 11) Luxembourg; 12) Finland; 13) United States; 14) Austria; 15) Spain; 16) Denmark; 17)Belgium; 18) Italy; 19) Liechtenstein; and 20) New Zealand. The top 20 list is dominated by European countries.

Those ten countries at the bottom of the list are: Guinea Bissau (173); Burundi (174); Chad (175); Congo (176); Burkina Faso (177); Mali (178); Central African Republic (179); Sierra Leone (180); Afghanistan (181); and Niger (182). Afghanistan is the only non-African country in this bracket.

Source: Xinhua
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