Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific

2412-1045 (online)
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The ESCAP Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific is published every other year. It provides a regional perspective on development issues in Asia and the Pacific. It covers a wide range of topics on population, education, health, poverty and inequalities, gender, economy, environment and connectivity.
Statistical yearbook for Asia and the Pacific 2014

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31 Dec 2014
9789210572835 (PDF)

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This publication presents data for the 58 ESCAP member countries, as well as world, regional, sub-regional and economic aggregates for comparison. It offers current trends and emerging topics in the Asia-Pacific region, grouped around the themes of people, the environment, the economy and connectivity. It provides the international and regional community with key indicators, objective analyses of the current trends and emerging issues, along with data and charts. In order to maximize the comparability, the data is sourced exclusively from international agencies that adhere to the official global statistical standards.
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  • Foreword
    I am pleased to present the Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific 2014, a reference work containing key facts on current and emerging trends in economic, social and environmental development across Asia and the Pacific.
  • Production team
    The primary responsibility for the producing the Statistical Yearbook lies with the ESCAP Statistics Division, under the guidance of Anis Chowdhury, Director, Statistics Division. The team for the production of this Yearbook includes
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    • Population
      The population of Asia and the Pacific reached 4.3 billion people in 2014, equivalent to 60% of the world’s total. While population growth in the region is often still described as a “demographic explosion”, the growth rate for Asia and the Pacific, at 0.9% in 2014, was lower than the global population growth rate (1.1%). Additionally, the population growth rate continued to slow, from 1.4% during the period 1990-2000 to 1.0% during the period 2000- 2010. Yet, in absolute terms population increase remains immense, with 573.7 million people having been added to the population between 2000 and 2014.
    • Urbanization
      The share of urban population in the region has been rising steadily for the last 25 years. At 47.7% in 2014, the urbanization rate remains however below the world level of 53.6%. But the region is rapidly catching up and has maintained the second highest urban population growth rate of all regions (after Africa) with an annual growth of 2.6% since 1990.
    • International migration
      In 2013, the number of migrants – people born in one country but living in another one –rose to 59.4 million in Asia and the Pacific, accounting for roughly one quarter of the world’s total population of migrants. This figure has risen at a slow pace over the last 20 years, rising only 13% since 1990, compared with increases in the rest of the world where the number of migrants rose by 70% over the same period.
    • Child health
      Infant mortality rates in Asia and the Pacific fell by 52% during the period 1990-2012, from 6.4% in 1990 to 3.1% in 2012. Thus, by 2012, of every 1,000 children born alive, 33 more children were surviving to their first birthday than had been the case in 1990. Over the same period, low-income countries experienced a 56% overall decline in the infant mortality rate, from 9.2% to 4%, ensuring that for every 1,000 children born in 2012, 52 more survived the first year after their birth than had been the case in 1990.
    • Maternal health
      In the Asia-Pacific region as a whole, there has been a range of improvements in maternal health since 1990. Region-wide, the most impressive improvement has been the dramatic reduction in the incidence of post-partum maternal death. The maternal mortality ratio (MMR, the number of women who die during pregnancy and childbirth per 100,000 live births) fell region-wide by 61%, a rate of reduction faster than the global average of 46% and faster than in other developing regions globally, including Africa and Latin America.
    • HIV and AIDS
      Of the 26 countries for which data were available in 2012, the number of people living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) had increased since 2006 in 17 of them. This may be due to a variety of factors, including an increase in HIV testing and access to antiretroviral therapy (ART). Although the number of people living with HIV is increasing, in some countries the number of new infections has dropped by more than half since 2001, including India (a 57% reduction) and Papua New Guinea (a 79% reduction).
    • Malaria and tuberculosis
      Despite impressive reductions, the prevalence and incidence of tuberculosis (TB) in the Asia-Pacific region in 2012 remained higher than in all regions of the world except for Africa, where the prevalence of TB was 40% higher and its incidence 66% higher. (The prevalence of TB is the total number of people with the disease in a population, usually given as a percentage or number per 100,000 persons, whereas the incidence, loosely defined, is the number of new cases of the disease over a specified time period.)
    • Other health risks
      While exposure to certain types of health risks in the Asia-Pacific region were low relative to other regions, the incidence of smoking among adult males in 2011 was higher in Asia and the Pacific than in any other region globally. Adult men in Asia and the Pacific on average are eight times more likely than females to be smokers: in 2011, the proportion of adult men in the region using tobacco at least occasionally was 40%, compared with 5% for adult women. While the region globally accounted for the highest incidence of smoking among adult men, it also had the lowest incidence of smoking among adult women. Among countries in the region with available data, all but two showed rates of smoking among adult men to be higher than among adolescent males. Adolescent females, on the other hand, had rates of smoking higher than the adult average in 64% of the Asia-Pacific countries with data.
    • Financial and human resources for health
      Total health expenditure as a share of GDP in the Asia-Pacific region increased by 17% from 1995 to 2012. Asian and Pacific countries spent an average of 6.7% of their GDP on health related expenditures in 2012, exceeding the 6.1% average spent by African countries, but disbursing less than the 7.7% of GDP spent by Latin American countries and the 10.1% by European countries.
    • Participation in education
      Educational opportunities continued to expand across Asia and the Pacific at all levels of education over the last two decades. As a result, in 2000, while a typical four-year-old girl in the region could expect to stay in the education system for 8.7 years, the duration of education for such a girl increased to 12 years in 2012. For a typical four-year-old boy, the expected years of schooling were 9.7 and 12.3, respectively, for 2000 and 2012. However, in 2012, as many as 18 million children of primary-school age were still out of school.
    • Staying in school and learning to read
      Once children enter school, it is important for them to be provided with good-quality instructional support so that they would progress academically and socially. However, one out of every four children in Asia and the Pacific who started the first grade of primary school in 2011 is unlikely to reach the last grade of primary school; this would be due to the child having to drop out of school or repeat grades, often as a result of poor-quality schooling and classroom instruction.
    • Financial and human resources for education
      There is much that Governments in Asia and the Pacific could do to ensure adequate investments in their educational systems. On the basis of available data, many countries in the region seem to have not yet taken up the recommendation of the Oslo Declaration of 18 December 2008 urging Governments to spend the equivalent of 4%-6% of GNP on education. Low educational attainment in the region is partly a consequence of low public expenditure.
    • Research and development
      Countries across Asia and the Pacific have continued to increase their investments in research and development (R & D). Based on available data spanning the period from the mid-1990s to 2012, total investments in R & D increased drastically across Asia and the Pacific. For instance, the amount of such investment more than doubled in Australia and the Russian Federation and more than tripled in India, Republic of Korea, Singapore and Turkey. It was multiplied by five in Azerbaijan, by nine in Malaysia, and fifteen in China.
    • Income poverty and inequality
      The estimated proportion of people in the Asia-Pacific region living on less than $1.25 a day (2005 PPP) in 2011 is 18%, a significant drop from the estimated proportion in 1990, which was 52%. This proportion represents 772 million people living in extreme poverty throughout Asia and the Pacific in 2011, a significant reduction from more than 1.7 billion people living under the same circumstances in 1990.
    • Access to water and sanitation
      Unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene claim the lives of millions of people each year, including an estimated 1.5 million children under the age of five years. Lack of access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene affects the health, security, livelihood and quality of life for all, with the impact felt most by children and women, who are often burdened with collecting drinking water. The vast majority of people still affected by poor access to improved drinking water and sanitation are poor people living in rural communities. Removing this inequality is still a major challenge in developing a suitable development framework beyond 2015.
    • Women’s empowerment
      Despite the successes in achieving gender parity in terms of enrolments at the three educational levels and women’s health, women still are at a severe disadvantage when accessing health care and education, and face severe deficits in their access to power, voice and rights across Asia and the Pacific. In many countries, households have a strong preference for male children, and take measures accordingly.
    • Food security
      Food security is built on four pillars, namely: availability, access, utilization and stability. The 1996 World Food Summit (WFS) defined food security as existing when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) measures food insecurity based on the severity of undernourishment defined in terms of a calorie intake of less than 1,800 calories per day. However, this figure can vary between 1630 and 2,000 calories depending on countries. The Global Hunger Index (GHI) of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) is composed of three equally weighted indicators, namely: (a) the proportion of undernourished as a percentage of the population; (b) the proportion of children younger than 5 who are underweight, which is one indicator of child under nutrition; and (c) the mortality rate of children younger than 5. The Global Food Security Index developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) combines measures of food affordability, availability, and quality and safety.
    • Crime
      Homicide rates in the countries of Asia and the Pacific are among the lowest in the world and well below the global average. However, there are large regional variations. For example, homicide rates are typically highest in the countries of North and Central Asia. Nevertheless, they are falling faster than elsewhere in Asia and the Pacific, despite an isolated peak of 20.1 homicides per 100,000 people during the civil unrest in Kyrgyzstan during 2010. Homicide rates in East and North-East Asia are also falling, but in contrast with North and Central Asia, rates in these countries are already some of the lowest in the world. The only region in which homicide rates appear to be increasing is South-East Asia, in part due to the single observation for Myanmar of 15.2 per 100,000 people in 2012.
    • Atmosphere and climate change
      Emissions scenarios leading to greenhouse gases (GHG) concentrations in 2100 of about 450 ppm CO2 equivalent or lower are likely to maintain global warming below 2°C over the 21st century relative to pre-industrial levels. The 2°C increase is generally regarded as the ceiling above which global warming could cause serious consequences. Global GHG concentrations reached 395.6 ppm in 2013, having risen at an annual rate of 2 ppm over the last decade.
    • Biodiversity, protected areas and forests
      The Asia-Pacific region, together with Europe, is trailing behind other regions of the world in protecting their marine areas. In 2012, the share of protected marine areas in the Asia-Pacific region was 7.9% of territorial waters, compared with 9.2% globally. Africa’s share (7.2%) of protected marine areas is even lower than that of the Asia-Pacific region.
    • Water availability and use
      Many of the countries in Asia and the Pacific have a surplus of renewable water resources, although the amount of water available per person has decreased since 1997 in nearly every country of the region. This decrease is principally the result of population increases and economic development, resulting in more people, each of them using more of the finite water resources available.
    • Energy supply and use
      Countries in Asia and the Pacific with the highest growth rates in total use of energy between 2000 and 2012 were (in descending order of growth rates): China, Viet Nam, and Kazakhstan. Total energy used, measured in million tons of oil equivalent (Mtoe), in these three countries has more than doubled since 2000. Averaged across the entire Asia-Pacific region, the growth rate since 2000 has been around 68%. The largest energy users (2012) within each of the five subregions of Asia and the Pacific are: China (2,894 Mtoe, in East and North-East Asia), India (788 Mtoe, in South and South-West Asia), the Russian Federation (757 Mtoe, in North and Central Asia), Indonesia (214 Mtoe, South-East Asia) and Australia (128 Mtoe, in the Pacific).
    • Natural disasters
      Asia and the Pacific remains the region with the highest number of natural disasters. Of the world’s reported natural disasters between 2004 and 2013, 41.2%, or 1,690 incidences, occurred in the Asia-Pacific region. These figures were about the same as in the previous decade between 1994 and 2003, namely 41.5% or 1,582 incidences of natural disasters.
    • Growth and structural change
      The Asia-Pacific region has been one of the fastest growing regions in the world since the 1970s. The region grew at more than 4% on average, compared with a global average of 3%, until the global financial and economic crisis hit in 2008. Between 1970 and 2012, the region’s real GDP rose from around $3 trillion to over $16 trillion. Similarly, real per capita income rose from $1,379 in 1970 to $3,947 in 2012.
    • Fiscal balance
      During the period between 2010 and 2012, the region as a whole had a modest fiscal deficit of around 3.5%. However, some countries — namely, India, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste — continue to have large fiscal deficits, over 5% of GDP. India, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and Samoa were able to reduce their fiscal deficits in 2013. Timor-Leste’s fiscal deficit improved only marginally from 33.4% of GDP in 2012 to 27.1% in 2013, while fiscal balances deteriorated in Georgia, Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Tajikistan and Viet Nam.
    • Inflation
      The (annual average) inflation rate in the Asia-Pacific region has been hovering between 3% and 4% since its spike (6.6%) in 2008 due to global food and fuel price hikes.1 However, there are considerable variations among subregions and countries. South and South-West Asia is the most inflation-prone subregion. India’s annual inflation rate rose to around 11% in 2013 after dropping from a peak of 12% in 2010. On the other hand, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have been successful in bringing their average annual inflation rates down from double-digit to single-digit levels — Sri Lanka from 22.6% (2008) to 6.9% (2013), Pakistan from 20.3% (2008) to 7.7% (2013) and Bangladesh from 10.7% (2011) to 7.5% (2013).
    • Employment
      In 2013, Asia and the Pacific maintained its employment-to-population ratio of 61% which is roughly in line with that of Latin American and the Caribbean at slightly over 62% and that of Africa at 60.5%. Asia-Pacific’s employment rate slightly exceeds the global average of 59.7%. However, the difference between female and male employment-to-population ratios is still significant, with the former at 47% and the latter at 75%.
    • International trade
      Growth in exports of merchandise in Asia-Pacific slowed down in 2012 (2.2%) and 2013 (2.1%) from 29.9% in 2010 and 19.5% in 2011. A similar slowdown was also recorded in imports of merchandise, where growth rates dropped to 4.3% in 2012 and 2.3% in 2013. Despite the slowdown, the Asia-Pacific region accounts for 36.6% of global merchandise exports and 36.1% of global merchandise imports, making it the biggest trading region in the world, in terms of both imports and exports, overtaking Europe in 2012.
    • International finance
      Foreign direct investment (FDI) to the region has remained large and robust. Inflows of FDI to the Asia-Pacific region increased slightly in 2013 to around $545.1 billion from around $511.5 billion in 2012. All subregions received more FDI, except the Pacific subregion where FDI declined from $61 billion in 2012 to $53.5 billion in 2013. Among the Asia-Pacific subregions, East and North-East Asia continues to attract the largest amount of FDI inflows, followed by South-East Asia. The Pacific island developing economies attract less than 1% of the region’s FDI inflows.
    • Information and communication technologies
      The progress in information and communication technologies (ICT) has been mainly led by mobile telephony, and less in terms of Internet connectivity. Mobile-cellular subscriptions per 100 population in Asia-Pacific grew rapidly from 15.6 in 2003 to 88.8 in 2013. However, the annual growth rate has been steadily falling from 29.4% in 2003 to 5.0% in 2013. In 2013, the regional average in mobilecellular subscriptions per 100 population continued to lag behind the world average (92.6) and other developing regions, such as Latin America and the Caribbean (114.5). There are large inequalities among countries and subregions. For example, in 2013, there were 137.7 mobile-cellular subscriptions per 100 population in North and Central Asia. At the national level, Cambodia (133.9), Malaysia (144.7) and Thailand (138.0) were higher than the European average (124.5) for this indicator.
    • Transport
      In Asia and the Pacific, the total demand for railway passenger transport was slightly less in 2012 than in 2011 (reduced by less than 1%), while railway freight registered an increase of a little over 1%. Railway density remained at 6.5 km per 1,000 km2 in 2011, as in 2009 and 2010, for the region. This figure is above that for Latin America and the Caribbean at 5.7 km per 1,000 km2 in 2011, but remains far behind that for Europe at 49.9 km per 1000 km2 and the world average at 9.5 km per 1,000 km2 in the same year. However, to a large extent, this points to the large surface area of the Asia-Pacific region (and the smaller size of Europe). Indeed, in terms of railway operating length, the region is also home to some of the longest railway networks in the world, namely China (100,000 km), the Russian Federation (85,500 km), India (65,000 km) and Australia (40,000 km).
    • Tourism
      The number of tourists visiting the region has been consistently increasing and the countries of Asia and the Pacific now receive more visitors than any region, other than Europe. With the expansion of tourism, the region captured nearly one quarter of total global tourist arrivals in 2013.
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