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12 Oct, 2011

The Asia-Pacific Statistical Yearbook 2011 Released – Download FREE!

Bangkok, Oct 12, 2011 (UN ESCAP Strategic Communications and Advocacy Section) – Asia and the Pacific is undergoing major demographic transformation, according to United Nations statistical data released here today.

“At some point this month, October 2011, a child will be born and the world’s population will have reached seven billion. There is a good chance that this birth will take place in our region, home to 61% of the World’s population,” said Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) at the launch of ESCAP’s flagship statistics publication. “If the child is born in the Asia-Pacific region, it will most likely be a boy.”

Estimates in the Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific 2011 (DOWNLOAD FREE HERE) show that in 2010, among children below the age of five, there were 110 boys for every 100 girls which is much higher than the natural sex ratio, and higher than any other region of the world.

East and North-East Asia has the highest ratio of 119, followed by South and South-West Asia with a ratio of 108.

“Prevailing family structures, culture, policy incentives and the available technology combine to make parents in some countries prefer boys over girls and act on that preference,” added Dr. Heyzer. “This is an alarming trend that reflects existing social practices of gender discrimination and neglect, and has serious consequences for the demographics of the future.”

Gender inequalities in the Asia-Pacific region are also evident in education, employment, property ownership and decision-making. Women account for 65 per cent of the 518 million illiterate people in the region, and only eight girls are enrolled in secondary school for every ten boys. Female participation in the labour force in the region has remained unchanged for almost 20 years with 65 employed women per 100 employed men. Women have very limited access to land ownership in at least eight Asia-Pacific countries. In all but two countries in the region, women hold less than 30 per cent of national level political positions.

The report also reveals for the first time in recorded history, the Asia-Pacific fertility rate was equal to the replacement rate of 2.1 (live births per woman). Replacement level fertility means that women give birth to the exact number of babies that would be needed to replace themselves. This means that this generation is not producing enough children to replace itself which will lead to reductions in population in the future.

ESCAP estimates published in its online database along with the Yearbook also project the regional fertility rate to drop below the replacement level by 2015, if current trends continue. Thus, without immigration, the next generation of people in Asia and the Pacific will be fewer in number, implying a decline in the region’s population in future.

The low Asia-Pacific birth rate, together with increased life expectancies, also mean a greying population with a 34 per cent increase in the proportion of elderly in the last two decades, a more drastic increase than all other regions except Latin America and the Caribbean. An ageing population changes the relative burden on different generations and has implications for social welfare demands, including healthcare.

Social development gains; dynamic economic growth comes at environmental cost

While the Asia-Pacific region has recorded high economic growth over the last few decades, this has had adverse environmental impacts. According to ESCAP estimates in the Yearbook, despite reductions in the carbon intensiveness of production, in 2008, Asia-Pacific countries accounted for almost half the world’s CO2 emissions compared to 40 per cent a decade ago. The proportion of primary forests in the region over this period has declined by more than 10 per cent.

There have been improvements in health and living conditions in the region, including a reduction in extreme poverty, increased access to water and sanitation, a decrease in maternal and child mortality as well as a decline in new infections of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. Socio-economic progress, however, has been mixed. The Yearbook notes that “total expenditure on health as a percentage of GDP in the region declined in recent years (in contrast to all other regions) demonstrating that per capita [health] expenditure in the region has not kept pace with economic growth”.

The Yearbook cautions that due to a lack of relevant, reliable and timely data, many drivers and consequences of development are still not well understood. ESCAP is working with countries in the region to address these gaps in statistics to improve the evidence-basis for public policymaking.

The Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific 2011 and a database are available from www.unescap.org/stat. The ESCAP online database and Yearbook contain internationally comparable data on population, environment, state of the economy and connectivity for the Asia-Pacific region, including national, subregional, regional and global statistics, to place Asia-Pacific developments in the global context.




More than 4.2 billion people lived in the Asia-Pacific region in 2010, constituting 61% of the world’s population…


The region includes the only two countries in the world that have populations exceeding 1 billion: China and India.

Fertility rates have declined in the region, in 2010, the region-wide fertility rate was equal to the “replacement rate”, at 2.1…


East and North-East Asia and North and Central Asia have the lowest fertility rates in the region, 1.6 and 1.8 live births per woman, respectively. The highest rates are found in South and South-West Asia, at 2.7, and the Pacific island developing economies, at 3.7.

Among adolescents, the fertility rate was 45.2 live births per 100,000 women aged 15-19 years, during the period 2005-2010 – less than half the rate in Africa and almost triple that in Europe. Afghanistan and Nepal were the only two countries in the region whose adolescent fertility rate exceeded 100.


Asia and the Pacific has the highest ratio of boys to girls in the world…

In Asia and the Pacific, the child sex ratio (boys per 100 girls aged 0-14) was 110 in 2010, much higher than the sex ratio under natural conditions (105). The population sex ratio in the region was 104 (men per 100 women) in 2010. The child sex ratio and the population sex ratio are higher than any other region of the world. China had the highest child sex ratio of any Asia-Pacific country at 121, and the population sex ratio at 108.


The elderly numbered 294 million in Asia and the Pacific in 2010…

The proportion of the elderly (aged 65 and above) in Asia and the Pacific increased from 5.3% in 1990 to 7.0% in 2010, representing a 34% increase in their share of the total population. By subregion, the share of elderly increased by 47% in East and North-East Asia, 40% in South-East Asia, 29% in South and South-West Asia, 20% in North and Central Asia, and 17% in the Pacific.

Over the last decade, the life expectancy for both women and men increased in every Asia-Pacific country with available data – the largest increase was seen in Nepal, where the life expectancy for women increased by 4.1 years and for men by 3.7 years.


Asia and the Pacific is urbanizing with the rest of the world…

Between 2005 and 2010, the urban proportion of the world’s population overtook the rural proportion – rising from 49% in 2005 to 51% in 2010. Asia and the Pacific, the second least urbanized region in the world, had an urban proportion of 43% in 2010 up from 33% in 1990. Of the world’s 21 mega-cities in 2010, 12 were in Asia (a mega-city is defined as having more than 10 million inhabitants). In 2005, 65% of the urban population in Asia-Pacific least developed countries lived in slums.


In 2010, the Asia-Pacific region was host to 53 million migrants…

Migrants living in Asia and the Pacific composed 25% of the world’s total migrant population. The proportion of migrants in the total Asia-Pacific population was 1.3%.

In 2009, 2.8 million infants and an additional 0.8 million children under 5 died in Asia and the Pacific…


The under-five mortality rate decreased from 86 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 49 in 2009. The infant mortality rate decreased from 63 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1900 to 38 in 2009. Still, too many children and infants in the region perish each year. Afghanistan has the highest under-five mortality rate of 199, followed by Cambodia (88), Pakistan (87) and Bhutan (79).


Maternal mortality in Asia and the Pacific has been halved in the past two decades…

Regionally, 177,300 fewer mothers died in childbirth in 2008 than in 1990; however, there were still 136,995 maternal deaths in the region in 2008, nearly 40% of the world total. The difference in the maternal mortality ratios between low-income and high-income countries was extreme: 517 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in low-income countries, as compared to 10 in high-income countries. Maternal mortality is closely linked with antenatal care – approximately 15 million women did not have a single visit for pregnancy-related care in 2008. Region-wide there were 23 million births not attended by skilled health personnel in 2009; South and South-West Asia accounted for 20 million of them.

In Asia and the Pacific, an estimated 6.1 million people were living with HIV and almost 300,000 people died from AIDS-related causes in 2009…


New HIV infections are declining in the Asia-Pacific; 360,000 people were infected with HIV in 2009, a 20% decline in new infections in comparison with the 450,000 new infections of 2001. China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Russian Federation, Thailand and Viet Nam had more than 100,000 people living with HIV in 2009 – India alone had 2.4 million. Injecting drug users have a higher HIV prevalence than any other at-risk population has, while the reported rates of condom use for injecting drug users are still low – 75% of countries with available data showed condom use rates below 50%.


Malaria affects millions of people in the Asia-Pacific region each year…

In Asia and the Pacific, there were 5 million cases of malaria reported in 2009, and 4,000 malaria- related deaths. Papua New Guinea had the highest malaria incidence in 2009, with 20,137 cases per 100,000 population, followed by Solomon Islands (16,071), Timor-Leste (9,566) and Vanuatu (6,178).

Although tuberculosis incidence is declining, there were 5.9 million new cases reported in 2009…


In Asia and the Pacific there were 143 new cases of tuberculosis diagnosed per 100,000 population in 2009.

Non-communicable diseases are a major cause of lost life in Asian and Pacific countries…


For more than half of Asia-Pacific countries with available data in 2008, non-communicable diseases account for more than 50% of the years of life lost (representing the number of additional years a person would have lived if they had not died prematurely).

Tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke killed more than 5 million people in the Asia-Pacific region in 2008, an average of 1 death every 6 seconds. Region-wide, 5 litres of pure alcohol were consumed per adult in 2005, lower than the worldwide average of 6 litres – North and Central Asia held the 2005 subregional record for highest consumption, at 13 litres per adult.

Nine of every 10 children of primary school age in Asia and the Pacific attended school in 2008; but only 6 in 10 of secondary school age did…


More than 26 million primary-aged children in the region were not in school in 2008. That same year, 57% of those of secondary school age in low-income countries did not attend, while in high- income countries the proportion not attending school was only 6.0%. Tertiary education gross enrolment was 10% for low-income countries compared to 71% in high-income countries.

All but six Asia-Pacific countries have achieved gender parity in primary school enrolment…


The region-wide gender parity index for primary school enrolment was 0.98 (parity lies at 1.0); and only six countries in the region exhibited gender disparity in favour of boys in primary school enrolment: Cambodia, India, Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Pakistan and Tajikistan. However, secondary education enrolment showed a gender parity index of only 0.79 – approximately 8 girls were enrolled for every 10 boys – in 2007.

Asia and the Pacific includes the largest number of illiterate adults of any region in the world…


The region was home to 518 million of the 793 million illiterate adults worldwide (based on recent data) with 416 million of them in South and South-West Asia alone. Female illiterate adults continue to outnumber males and composed 65% of the region-wide total, similar to the proportion twenty years ago (64%).

The total expenditure on R&D for Asia increased by PPP$155 billion over the last decade, bringing its global share from 27% to 32%…


Five countries accounted for 92% of R&D investment in Asia and the Pacific: Japan (PPP$148 billion), China (PPP$102 billion), the Republic of Korea (PPP$41 billion), India (PPP$25 billion) and the Russian Federation (PPP$24 billion). The region as a whole could count only 746 researchers per million inhabitants in 2007, well below the world average of 1,081. Women composed only 18% of the regional R&D work force in 2007 – lower than in Africa (at 33%), Latin American and the Caribbean (45%) and Europe (34%).

Female participation in the Asian and Pacific labour force remained at 65 employed women per 100 employed men from 1991 to 2009…


In Asia and the Pacific, 47% of employed women were engaged in the agricultural sector in 2008, compared with 38% of men. The proportion of women employed in industry has remained relatively constant in the last 20 years, at slightly less than 20% of employed women.

Women’s access to land and property is still “very limited” in some Asian and Pacific countries…


Women’s access to land was classified (by OECD) as “very limited” in five South and South-West Asian countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Sri Lanka), two Pacific (Fiji and Papua New Guinea) and one North and North-East Asian country (Mongolia). Women in Afghanistan and Papua New Guinea had “no access” to own property other than land.

In the region, only Hong Kong, China has full legislation on gender-based violence in the region…


Three countries in the region had no legislation on violence against women based on available data in 2009: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Afghanistan.

Women are underrepresented in national and local politics in almost all Asian and Pacific countries…


Women occupied 30% or more seats in their national parliaments in just two Asian and Pacific countries, Nepal and New Zealand, in 2010.

People living in extreme poverty in Asia and the Pacific declined from about 1.6 billion in 1990 to 0.9 billion in 2008…


The proportion of people in extreme poverty was highest South and South-West Asia (at 36%), followed by South-East Asia (21%), East and North-East Asia (13%), and North and Central Asia (8.2%) – extreme poverty is defined as those living on less than PPP$1.25 per day.

In Asia and the Pacific, 466 million people lacked access to improved water sources and 1.86 billion lacked access to improved sanitation in 2010…


Region-wide access to improved water sources rose from 74% of the total population in 1990 to 89% in 2008–96% of the urban and 83% of the rural population had improved water sources. Access to improved sanitation rose from 42% to 54% of the total population during the same period – rural access to improved sanitation grew from 30% to 43% between 1990 and 2008.



Asian and Pacific countries accounted for almost half the world’s CO2 emissions in 2008; whereas in 1990 their share of the world total was 38%…


In 2008, China was the single largest emitter of greenhouse gases worldwide, emitting 6.5 billion tons of CO2, 0.4 billion tons more than from all of North America. However, on a per capita basis, the North American rate is 3.7 times higher than that of China.


Asia and the Pacific had the highest annual water withdrawal of all regions…

Between 60% and 90% of water withdrawal was used in agriculture in all Asia-Pacific subregions. Water availability varies from a high of 50,000 cubic metres of water available per person annually in the Pacific to less than 2,500 cubic metres per capita per year in East and North-East Asia and South and South-West Asia.

In 2008, Asia and the Pacific produced more energy than any other world region, accounting for 46% of global production…


Between 2000 and 2008, electricity production in Asia and the Pacific grew by an average of 6.1% per year, and its share of world production rose from 32% to 42%. East and North-East Asia produced 5,051 billion kWh of electricity in 2008, almost 60% of the Asia-Pacific total, with China and Japan together accounting for 4,539 billion kWh. However, the region ranked second lowest in per capita energy consumption, after Africa, at just 74% of the world average.


Threats to biodiversity in Asia and the Pacific are prevalent…

South-East Asia lost 13% of its forest cover during the past 20 years – about 332,000 square kilometres, an area roughly equal to the size of Viet Nam. Indonesia alone lost around 241,000 square kilometres. Conversely, forest cover in China increased by 5.4% over the last two decades.

The Asian and Pacific region accounts for nearly one third of all the threatened species in the world and roughly two-thirds of Asia-Pacific countries experienced an increase in the number of threatened species between 2008 to 2010. The greatest increase was in India where 99 species have been added to the threatened species list.

Natural disasters killed an average of more than 70,000 people every year of the last decade in Asia and the Pacific…


More than 200 million people were affected by natural disasters in the Asia-Pacific every year during the last decade. Of the world total the Asia and Pacific region included 90% of those affected by natural disaster, 65% of deaths due to natural disaster, and 38% of economic damage from natural disasters between 2001 and 2010. In high-income Asia-Pacific countries, about 1 in every 1,000 people was affected by disasters and 1 in 1 million died annually during 2001 to 2010; by contrast, in low-income countries nearly 30 in 1,000 people were affected and 52 in 1 million people killed.



Defying the 2009 world financial crisis, Asia and the Pacific maintained positive GDP growth in 2009…


GDP growth in the Asia-Pacific region was positive in 2009, at 0.5%. The low and lower-middle income countries showed average GDP growth rates of 5.7% and 7.6%, respectively. Growth in upper-middle and high income countries was -4.8% and -3.3%, respectively, similar to growth rates in Europe.

Asia-Pacific investment contractions and negative fiscal balances in 2009 reflect outcomes of the global financial crisis…


The gross domestic investment rate in the Asia-Pacific contracted by 5.8% in 2009. In 2009, the regional average investment rate was 29% of GDP.

All Asia-Pacific countries showed a negative fiscal balance in 2009, except Hong Kong, China; and the Pacific countries of Solomon Islands and Tonga. The two largest countries, China and India, recorded fiscal deficits of 2.2% and 6.6% of GDP, respectively.

Monetary effects of the 2009 global financial crisis are also apparent in Asia and the Pacific…


Inflation in Asia and the Pacific fell from 6.6% in 2008 to 2.6% in 2009; and four countries experienced deflation in 2009: Cambodia, China, Japan and Thailand. In 2009, the central bank discount rate was lowered in 20 of the 30 Asia-Pacific countries for which data are available, and stayed constant in the other 10. In Asia and the Pacific, 9 currencies depreciated vis-à-vis the United States dollar, while all other currencies appreciated – 25 Asia-Pacific currencies appreciated by 1.0% or more.

The Asia-Pacific region has the lowest unemployment rate in 2009, at 5.0%, of any world region…


In 2009, unemployment rate in all other regions of the world was higher than that in Asia and the Pacific: Africa, 8.3%; Europe, 9.2%; Latin America and Caribbean, 7.7%; North America, 9.3%. Of those employed in Asia and the Pacific, 41% were in the agricultural sector, 36% in services and 25% in industry.


Employment is higher for men than women…

Male employment-to-population in the region was 76, while the female ratio was 51. Notably, 6 of the 10 countries in South and South-West Asia had a male employment-to-population ratio of more than double the female ratio.

By 2010 Asia and the Pacific surpassed its pre-crisis, 2008 levels of exports and imports, the only region in the world to have done so…


The Asia-Pacific region exported and imported roughly 200 billion more in 2010 than it did in 2008, while all other regions declined in both export and import performance between those two years. The fast recovery of Asia and the Pacific increased its share of global merchandise exports to 36% and global merchandise imports to 34%, thus narrowing the gap with Europe, the largest exporter and importer (at 37% of both).


Trade dependence in the Asia-Pacific region has almost doubled since 1990…

As measured by the ratio of merchandise exports to GDP, the regional dependence on trade increased from 14% in 1990 to 24% in 2009.


China overtook Japan in 2009 as the top Asia-Pacific exporter of services…

Between 2000 and 2010, Japan’s share of trade in services fell by more than one third and the China share almost doubled making China the country with the highest share of services trade in the Asia-Pacific.

In 2009, FDI inflow to the Asia-Pacific region dropped 30%, while ODA inflows plunged 70%…


Foreign direct investment (FDI) fell from US$469 billion in 2008 to US$330 billion in 2009; and official development assistance (ODA) plummeted from US$28 billion to US$8.5 billion. FDI as a proportion of GDP increased in just two Asia-Pacific countries and no country received an increased ODA.

The major sources of FDI outflow in the region are China, Japan, the Russian Federation and Hong Kong, China; collectively in 2009 they provided one fifth of the world total FDI outflow.

Overseas worker’s remittances contribute substantially to many Asian and Pacific countries…


Workers’ remittances in Asia and the Pacific increased by 1.8% from US$114 billion in 2008 to US$117 billion in 2009. Remittances were most significant, as a proportion of GDP, for Tajikistan (at 35%), Samoa (23%), Kyrgyzstan and Nepal (22% each), Bangladesh (12%) and the Philippines (9.4%).



Mobile phone subscriptions in Asia and the Pacific were four times more than fixed- line phone subscriptions in 2009…


Region-wide in 2009, there were 61 mobile phone subscriptions per 100 people and 15 fixed-line phone subscriptions per 100 people. The lowest mobile phone subscription rate was in Pacific island developing economies, at 25 per 100 people. Kiribati, whose islands are dispersed over 3.5 million square kilometres, had the lowest rate in the entire Pacific at 1 subscription per 100 people. North and Central Asia was the only subregion with more mobile phone subscriptions than people – 131 mobile subscriptions per 100 people.

The number of Internet users in Asia and the Pacific in 2009 was more than 5 times higher than in 2000 (20 users per 100 people in 2009 versus 3 per 100 people in 2000)…


The overall Internet usage rate in the region was 20% in 2009, still well below the world average of 27%. Internet users numbered 820 million in 2009, with fixed-line broadband access for 200 million of them.

In 2008, of the world’s top 30 container ports in terms of throughput, 20 were in the Asia-Pacific region, including the top 5…


The top five Asia-Pacific countries in terms of port container traffic were China; Singapore; Hong Kong, China; Japan; and the Republic of Korea.

Overall demand for Asian and Pacific rail passenger transport services grew by 72%, from 1995 to 2008; and for freight transport by 84% to 2009…


In 1995 there were 1.2 trillion passenger-kilometres and 2.9 trillion ton-kilometres of freight transported by Asia-Pacific railways; in 2008 there were 2.1 trillion passenger-kilometres and in 2009 there were 5.3 trillion ton-kilometres of freight.

The railways of China, India and Japan registered the highest number of passenger-kilometres in 2008. In 2009, China, India and the Russian Federation recorded the most freight in ton-kilometres.

Half of the substandard roadways in the Asian Highway network were upgraded to the standard between 2004 and 2008…


Approximately 11,000 kilometres of Asian Highway substandard roads were upgraded to the minimum standard between 2004 and 2008, leaving only 8.0% of network roadways below the minimum standard – the minimum standard is double bituminous-treated roads with two lanes.

Tourism is thriving in Asia and the Pacific, where inbound tourist arrivals totalled almost 204 million or nearly 22% of the world total in 2010…


Tourists arriving in the region exceeded the 200 million in 2010, up 13% from 2009. All subregions except the Pacific recorded double-digit percentage increases in inbound tourist arrivals. Region-wide, expenditures by inbound tourists rose to US$249 billion in 2010, increasing by nearly 22% in a single year from the US$203 billion total of 2009. The three destination countries of the most inbound tourism arrivals were China, Malaysia and Turkey.

Over one quarter of the world’s total CO2 emissions from transport in 2008 were from Asia and the Pacific…


In 2008, the transport industry region-wide emitted 1,704 million tons of CO2 of the world total of 6,605 million tons. Of those emissions, the road sector of the industry was responsible for 82%, while 13% came from aviation and 3.1% from rail.