PH 97th out of 169 nations in quality-of-life report
By Jerry E. Esplanada
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines ranked 97th out of 169 countries worldwide in the 2010 United Nations (UN) Human Development Index (HDI) of UN member-countries with the best quality of life.
In a Nov. 4 report, the UN Development Program (UNDP) said the Philippines’ HDI rose from 0.523 in 1980 to the current 0.638, which gives the country (with a life expectancy of 72.33 years) a rank of 97 out of 169 countries with comparable data.
However, the HDI of East Asia and the Pacific rose from 0.391 in 1980 to 0.650 today, placing the Philippines below the regional average.
In 1980, 1990, 2000 and 2005, the country’s HDIs—0.523, 0.552, 0.597 and 0.619—were higher than the region’s 0.391, 0.474, 0.567 and 0.608.
The rankings of other member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are Singapore, 27; Brunei, 37; Malaysia, 57; Thailand, 92; Indonesia, 108; Vietnam, 113; Laos, 122; Cambodia, 124; and Burma (Myanmar), 132.
In the latest HDI report, Norway, with its 81 years of life expectancy, led the world in human development achievement. Australia and New Zealand placed second and third.
Also in the Top 10 were the United States, Ireland, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Canada, Sweden and Germany.
Three African states—Niger, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zimbabwe—were at the bottom, along with Mali, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Chad, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and Burundi.
According to the UNDP, East Asia and the Pacific had by far the “strongest overall performance of any region in the world, nearly doubling average HDI attainment over the past 40 years.”
China, which ranked 89th in the HDI, made it to the UNDP’s list of Top 10 Movers, along with Nepal, Indonesia, Laos and South Korea, “due to income rather than health or education achievements.”
“China’s per capita income increased a stunning 21-fold over the last four decades, also lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty. Yet, China was not among the region’s top performers in improving school enrollment and life expectancy,” the UNDP said.
Highest in East Asia
South Korea ranked highest among East Asian countries at No. 12. At No. 155, Afghanistan ranked lowest among Asian nations out of 169 countries.
Other Asian states and their rankings: Japan, 11; Hong Kong, 21; Iran, 70; Sri Lanka, 91; India, 119; Bangladesh, 129; and Nepal, 138.
At least 14 countries, including Cuba, Lebanon, Oman, Grenada, Samoa, Bhutan, Eritrea, Seychelles and Vanuatu, as well as the Palestinian territories, have been dropped from the HDI “due to a lack of internationally compiled and verified data.”
The UNDP described the premise of the HDI as “simple.” It said that “national development should be measured not just by economic growth, but also by health and education achievement.”
“Life expectancy remains the main indicator for health. In education, the expected years of schooling for school-age children replaces gross enrollment and the average years of schooling in the adult population replaces adult literacy rates to provide a fuller picture of education level,” the UN attached agency said.