Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific 2012
 
   
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A.1. Population

The proportion of people in Asia and the Pacific within the most economically active age band is increasing. In 2012, nearly 70 per cent or 2.9 billion people in the region were aged between 15 and 64 years.

Many countries in the Asian and Pacific region are in the middle or advanced stages of a demographic transition caused by lower fertility and lower mortality levels. The result is a temporary “demographic dividend” in which a higher share of the population is in the economically productive age band between 15 and 64 years and a lower share is in the young and old-age dependency groups, which are less economically active. It is important that countries maximize the benefits of this dividend as the age structure continues to shift towards an ageing, less economically productive population that will require greater social care.

A.2. Urbanization

In 2009, more than half a billion people in Asia and the Pacific were living in slums.

Almost every country in the region has seen the percentage of urban dwellers increase in the past three decades. In 2012, an estimated 46 per cent or 1.96 billion of the Asian and Pacific population lived in urban areas, compared with less than 40 per cent 10 years earlier. In 2009, 30 per cent or half a billion urban dwellers lived in slums. This is a decrease in percentage terms from the nearly 50 per cent of urban dwellers living in slums in 1990, but due to the rapid urbanization in the region, the number of people living in slums has not fallen.

A.3. International migration

Over half of the 53 million migrants living in Asia and the Pacific in 2010 were in Australia, India, Pakistan or the Russian Federation.

In 2010, a quarter of the world’s total migrant population was living in the countries of Asia and the Pacific, and more than half of these were living in just four countries: Australia, India, Pakistan and the Russian Federation. The large size of the population of Asia and the Pacific, however, results in a small number for migrants as a percentage of the total population: 1.3 per cent compared with a global average of 3.1 per cent.

B.1. Child health

A child born in 2011 had more chance of surviving until his fifth birthday than ever before.

The child mortality rate in the region halved between 1990 and 2011 from 81.5 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 40.3 per 1,000 live births in 2011, with considerable declines in all the subregions. Despite these declines, nearly 3 million children in the region under 5 years of age died in 2011. Much work therefore remains to be done before the region can meet target 4.A of the Millennium Development Goals, which is to reduce the 1990 under-five mortality rate by two thirds before 2015.

B.2. Maternal and reproductive health

In 2010, the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births varied between 470 in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and 3 in Singapore.

The number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in the region fell from 369 in 1990 to 142 in 2010. However, there is substantial variance across the region. In such countries as the Lao People’s Democratic Republic the mortality ratio was 470 deaths per 100,000 live births, similar to the Africa average of 463.

B.3. HIV and AIDS

In 2011, an estimated 5.8 million people in Asia and the Pacific were living with HIV.

More than 90 per cent of the 5.8 million people living with HIV in the region are in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Russian Federation, Thailand and Viet Nam. However, these countries are reporting positive results in addressing their epidemics. In 2011, AIDS-related deaths in India, the country with the highest HIV burden in the region, stood at 147,729, a decline of 28.5 per cent compared with 2007.

B.4. Malaria and tuberculosis

In 2011, the incidence of malaria in Asia and the Pacific had fallen to 136 per 100,000 population, the lowest in over three decades. The incidence of TB is also falling, but the region still accounts for the largest population of people living with TB in the world.

The Asian and Pacific region has had significant success in reducing the incidence of malaria and several countries are on track to meet or even surpass the targets related to the reduction of malaria in Millennium Development Goal 6. The incidence of 136 per 100,000 in 2011 was below 200 for the first time since 2000 and was less than half the figure of 268 per 100,000 in 2010. Similarly, the number of new TB cases per 100,000 population in Asia and the Pacific fell from 167 in 2000 to 139 in 2011. The region has met the TB-related target of Millennium Development Goal 6 but still has the largest population of people living with TB in the world.

B.5. Other health risks

The prevalence of female smokers in 2009 was 5.1 per cent, lower than the global average, but the prevalence of male smokers was 42 per cent, higher than the global average.

From 2006 to 2009, smoking prevalence among women in the region fell from 6.4 per cent to 5.1 per cent, compared with a global average of 8.6 per cent. The prevalence of smoking among men in the region also fell, but, in contrast with women, the prevalence of 42 per cent in 2009 was higher than the global figure of 37 per cent and higher than the prevalence in all other global regions.

B.6. Financial and human resources for health

Health expenditure in Asia and the Pacific as a percentage of GDP was 6.4 per cent in 2011, considerably lower than the global aggregate of 10.1 per cent.

The economic growth and dynamism in Asia and the Pacific has generally not led to relative increases in health spending, which is still significantly lower than the global level, particularly government spending. Consequently, people in Asia and the Pacific spend more on out-of-pocket expenses than do those in any other region in the world. The subregions of East and North-East Asia and the Pacific, however, are leading the way in government spending on health and all countries with data report figures over the spending levels recommended by the World Health Organization.

C.1. Participation in education

Enrolment in pre-primary education was less than 50 per cent in about half the countries in Asia and the Pacific despite substantial increases over the last decade.

Enrolment in pre-primary education in Asia and the Pacific has increased substantially over the last 10 years, with the rate doubling or more in many countries in South and South-West Asia. However, opportunities for pre-primary education vary widely across Asia and the Pacific, and enrolment in pre-primary education was less than 50 per cent in about half the countries in the region. It was as low as 9 per cent in Bhutan and Tajikistan and over 100 per cent in the Cook Islands, Maldives, the Republic of Korea and Thailand.

C.2. Staying in school and learning to read

Only three out of every four children who start primary school in Asia and the Pacific are likely to reach the last grade of primary school.

In 2010, as many as 76 per cent of children in Asia and the Pacific starting the first grade of primary school were expected to reach the last grade. This survival rate has improved somewhat from the level of 74 per cent in 2000 but still represents a sizeable waste of learning opportunities for many children. Literacy rates for youths (aged 15-24 years), which were already as high as 95 per cent in some countries, have increased over the past decade, as more students are enrolling and staying in school.

C.3. Financial and human resources for education

Countries in the Asian and Pacific region committed between 8 per cent and 34 per cent of total public expenditure to education in 2011 (or latest available).

The 2008 Oslo Declaration recommends that countries spend between 15 per cent and 20 per cent of their total government expenditure on education. Of those countries in the region with data, 11 have reached or exceeded this target, while Azerbaijan, Pakistan and Timor-Leste spend between 8 per cent and 10 per cent on education as a share of total government expenditure, the lowest in the region.

C.4. Research and development

China and Japan have the largest expenditures on research and development in Asia and the Pacific.

China is, by far, the largest investor in R& D in Asia and the Pacific, spending over $140 billion (2005 PPP) in the year 2009. Japan followed with close to $127 billion (2005 PPP). Among the world’s top 25 countries that spent the greatest share of their GDP on R& D, 5 are in the Asian and Pacific region: Republic of Korea (3.7 per cent); Japan (3.4 per cent); Australia (2.4 per cent); Singapore (2.4 per cent); and China (1.7 per cent).

D.1. Income poverty and inequality

In 2011, about 20 per cent of the population of Asia and the Pacific, or 743 million people, were living in extreme poverty, a significant reduction compared with 52 per cent, or 1.6 billion people, in 1990.

Reductions in the percentage of people in Asia and the Pacific living in extreme poverty, on less than 2005 PPP $1.25 per day, have been caused in large part by the impressive growth performance of several emerging countries in the region, in particular China and India. A large number of people, however, are living just above the extreme poverty line, in near poverty, who cannot manage a decent daily livelihood. If $2 per day (2005 PPP) is used as a benchmark, the number of poor in the Asian and Pacific region decreased from 2.4 billion in 1990 to an estimated 1.6 billion in 2011.

D.2. Access to water and sanitation

Access to improved water sources in Asia and the Pacific increased from 73 per cent in 1990 to 91 per cent in 2011. In contrast, only 59 per cent of the region had access to improved sanitation facilities in 2011.

Between 1990 and 2011, an estimated 1.5 billion people in the region gained access to improved water sources, a considerable achievement for the region. Nevertheless, in 2011, there were still 360 million people lacking access to improved water sources, which represents about 46 per cent of the world’s total. There are also large disparities between the proportion of the population with access to improved water sources in rural areas (86 per cent) and that in urban areas (97 per cent). Progress towards meeting the need for improved sanitation has been relatively slow, with 1.7 billion people, or 59 per cent of the population, without access to improved sanitation facilities in 2011. This needs to rise to 68 per cent by 2015 in order to meet target 7.C of the Millennium Development Goals.

D.3. Food security

In 2012, about two thirds of the world’s undernourished population lived in Asia and the Pacific.

In the period 2010 to 2012, 13 per cent of the population of Asia and the Pacific experienced severe forms of hunger and malnutrition. However, this proportion has fallen from 22 per cent in the period 1990 to 1992, and, on the basis of this trend, the region is likely to achieve the Millennium Development Goal hunger target of reducing by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger between 1990 and 2015.

D.4. Crime

Homicide rates in Asia and the Pacific, already among the lowest in the world, are decreasing. At 2.7 per 100,000 in 2010, the rate for the region was approximately half the global rate.

The region includes countries that have some of the lowest homicide rates in world. Indeed, the three lowest homicide rates available globally for 2011 were from Asia and the Pacific, namely: Japan (0.3 per 100,000); Singapore (0.3 per 100,000); and Hong Kong, China (0.2 per 100,000).

E.1. Women’s empowerment

Female employment as a proportion of male employment in Asia and the Pacific has been hovering between 62 per cent and 65 per cent since the early 1990s, similar to the global average.

Despite economic growth in the Asian and Pacific region, the economic empowerment of women lags behind. In 2012, there were only 62 employed females in the region for every 100 employed males, and the work they did was more likely to be in the sectors that are vulnerable, poorly paid and less secure. For instance, in the Asian and Pacific region, 42 per cent of employed females are in agricultural employment, compared with 36 per cent of employed males.

F.1. Atmosphere and climate change

The Asian and Pacific region was responsible for more than half of total global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2010.

In 2010, GHG emissions in the Asian and Pacific region increased by 1.5 per cent from the previous year, which is similar to the global increase. China became the single country with the largest share of global GHG emissions, accounting for about 23 per cent of the global total, which is approximately the same share as Latin America and the Caribbean and North America combined.

F.2. Energy supply and use

Although levels of per capita energy consumption in the region are lower than the global average, by 2010 the region was consuming almost half (44.5 per cent) of the world’s energy supply.

Energy consumption in Asia and the Pacific has been continuously on the rise, increasing by 43 per cent from 2000 to 3,862 million tons of oil equivalent in 2010. However, the region has the third lowest per capita total primary energy supply (1,438 kilograms of oil equivalent, or koe) in the world after Africa (737 koe) and Latin America and the Caribbean (1,331 koe), and further increases in energy supply and use are likely.

F.3. Water availability and use

In 2011, total renewable water resources in the region equaled 20,521 billion m3, which represents approximately 38 per cent of total world water availability.

Within the region, South-East Asia has the largest renewable water resources available, with about 31 per cent of the total regional water availability, and the Pacific has the least, with only 8 per cent. Asia and the Pacific has fewer renewable water resources per capita than the global average or any other region in the world, and, as its population grows, more water will be required for socio-economic activities.

F.4. Biodiversity, protected areas and forests

The share of protected marine areas in Asia and the Pacific was 5.8 per cent in 2010, well short of the target of 10 per cent by 2020.

Despite important steps taken by Pacific island countries and territories in recent years, in 2010, the share of protected marine areas in the region was 5.8 per cent of its territorial waters, compared with 7.1 per cent for the world. This is far below the 10 per cent target by 2020 specified in the Convention on Biological Diversity.

F.5. Natural disasters

Between 2002 and 2011, the Asian and Pacific region had the largest number of people affected, as well as the largest number of people killed by disasters.

In the past decade, a person living in Asia and the Pacific was 3.2 times more likely to be affected by a natural disaster than a person living in Africa, 5.5 times more likely than a person in Latin America and the Caribbean, almost 9 times more likely than a person living in North America and 67 times more likely than a person in Europe. The impact of natural disasters as a percentage of GDP is greatest in the region’s low-income countries and between 2002 and 2011 averaged about 0.9 per cent, more than double the figure of about 0.4 per cent in the other income groupings.

G.1. Economic growth

In 2011, the growth rate in developing economies in the Asian and Pacific region was 6.8 per cent, slowing by almost a fifth from 8.4 per cent in 2010.

The dramatic recovery from the global financial crisis of 2008-09 slowed in 2011. This slowdown particularly affected the subregions where exports play a major role. Hence, South-East Asia experienced the greatest slowdown in the growth rate, with a fall from 8.0 per cent in 2010 to 4.5 per cent in 2011.

G.2. Fiscal balance

The average fiscal deficit in developing economies of Asia and the Pacific nearly doubled, from 1.0 per cent of GDP in the five years prior to the global financial crisis (2003-2007) to 1.9 per cent of GDP during 2008-2011.

Fiscal deficits have increased due to an unprecedented scale of fiscal support to revive domestic demand and sluggish economic activities, partly at the expense of tax revenue. Indeed, the crisis reversed the improving trend in the fiscal performance observed in the pre-crisis period, when the average deficit softened from 2.6 per cent of GDP in 2001 to 0.8 per cent of GDP in 2006 before turning to a small surplus in 2007.

G.3. Monetary measures

The inflation rate increased from 3.8 per cent in 2010 to 4.6 per cent in 2011, driven by high global food and oil prices, as well as strong domestic demand leading to higher core inflation.

The rise in the inflation rate for Asia and the Pacific was driven by an increase in both demand for goods and services and the cost of producing and supplying them. Global food prices remained at almost record levels, and oil prices moved up to levels not seen since the onset of the world economic crisis. As a result, central banks in many countries in the region increased their discount rates and policymakers had to decide between supporting the domestic economy and fighting inflation. In 2012, many countries experienced currency depreciation.

G.4. Employment

Industry and services have become the predominant sectors of employment in Asia and the Pacific. Services alone accounted for 36.9 per cent of total employment in 2012, up from only 25.5 per cent in 1991.

In the past two decades, the concentration of jobs in the region has shifted rapidly from agriculture to industry and services. Together, industry and services employed more than three fifths of all workers in the region in 2012. Generally, there was weak job growth in 2012, with employment expanding by only 1.2 per cent. Youth unemployment (people aged 15-24 years) was 10.6 per cent, more than double the rate of 4.5 per cent for the total population.

G.5. International trade

In 2012, Asia and the Pacific surpassed Europe to become the world’s largest trading region.

In 2012, the region surpassed Europe to become the world’s largest trading region, with a share of almost 37 per cent of world merchandise exports and 36 per cent of world merchandise imports. The region’s gains in world trade were driven by the large economies in East and North-East Asia. Since 2004, China has been the largest exporter in the region, and it accounted for 11 per cent of world merchandise exports in 2012.

G.6. International financing

Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into Asia and the Pacific in 2012 were the highest in the world.

In 2012, the Asia-Pacific region increased its share of global FDI inflows from 33.4 per cent in 2011 to 37.5 per cent, clearly leaving behind Europe (21.4 per cent), Latin America and the Caribbean (18.1 per cent), North America (15.8 per cent), and Africa (3.7 per cent). However, the least developed countries and landlocked developing countries received 1.1 per cent and 5.2 per cent, respectively, of total FDI inflows to the region.

G.7. Tourism

Asia and the Pacific receives the second largest number of tourism arrivals, behind Europe, with 28.4 per cent of the world’s total.

In 2011, 283.9 million arrivals in Asia and the Pacific were recorded, which is an increase of 21.5 million tourism arrivals from 2010. Between 2005 and 2011, the average annual growth in tourism arrivals was 6 per cent. Inbound tourism expenditure in 2011 was $362.6 billion, which is $51.8 billion more than in 2010 and equal to 28.9 per cent of the total global inbound expenditure.

H.1. Information and communications technology

Although the number of internet users in the Asian and Pacific region has been growing, only 30 per cent of the population was connected to the Internet in 2012, and fixed (wired)-broadband subscriptions were lower than 8 per cent.

The region overall has the second lowest Internet penetration rate in the world, after Africa, leaving 3 billion people — a number equivalent to almost half of the world’s population — not yet connected. However, the number of Internet users in the region grew by 15.4 per cent annually between 2008 and 2012, much faster than the global annual growth rate of 11.2 per cent.

H.2. Transport

Between 2005 and 2008, road density in Asia and the Pacific increased by 5.8 per cent, greater than the increase in road density worldwide, of 3.5 per cent.

Road length and capacity have increased and the general quality of roads has improved. Yet, road traffic death rates in many countries are among the highest in the world, with more than half of the global total occurring in Asia and the Pacific. About 777,000 people were killed in road accidents in 2010 alone.

 
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