Economic and Social Inequality in Asia and Pacific: 12 Things to Know

Despite Asia's remarkable economic progress over the last decades, inequality remains a problem in the region.

  1. Inclusive growth, defined as economic growth with equality of opportunity, is one of the three strategic objectives of ADB.
    Source: ADB document Framework of Inclusive Growth Indicators 2013
  1. From 1990 to 2010, Asia and the Pacific has halved extreme poverty and seen an annual rise in average per capita income of nearly 6%. However, data shows a worsening of the rich/poor gap in many economies.
    Source: ADB document Framework of Inclusive Growth Indicators 2013
  1. The best improvements have been seen in poverty reduction (at the $2 a day measure), under-five mortality rates, and in average years of schooling.
    Source: ADB document Framework of Inclusive Growth Indicators 2013
  1. Countries with high Gini coefficients (inequality measure) where the poorest quintile of the population had the lowest shares of national income or consumption included the People's Republic of China, Malaysia and several Pacific Islands.
    Source: ADB publication Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2013
  1. Child mortality has been cut in half over the last two decades but progress on reducing the number of underweight children has been poor.
    Source: ADB document Framework of Inclusive Growth Indicators 2013
  1. Many workers earn too little to lift their families out of poverty and the number without formal work exceeded 40% of the total employed in 18 economies, with the proportion being over 80% in India and Bangladesh.
    Source: ADB publication Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2013
  1. Electricity consumption over the last two decades has more than tripled but wide disparities still exist between rural and urban areas, while cellular phone subscriptions have grown in all economies.
    Source: ADB document Framework of Inclusive Growth Indicators 2013
  1. The region has seen an increase in the average number of years children stay in school and most economies have improved gender parity in primary education. However, gender parity in the labor force has deteriorated.
    Source: ADB document Framework of Inclusive Growth Indicators 2013
  1. The People's Republic of China and 15 other economies had youth (aged 15-24) literacy rates of at least 99% but 11 economies had rates below 95%, including Pakistan with 71%.
    Source: ADB publication Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2013
  1. Social security spending on health as a percentage of government expenditure has risen but there are sharp disparities amongst countries.
    Source: ADB document Framework of Inclusive Growth Indicators 2013
  1. Migrant workers' remittances are now a major source of foreign exchange across Asia and the Pacific region.
    Source: ADB publication Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2013
  1. Migrant workers' remittances is now a major source of foreign exchange across Asia and the Pacific region.
    Source: ADB publication Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2013