fbpx 50 Years of Data on Asia and the Pacific with ADB's Key Indicators | Asian Development Bank

50 Years of Data on Asia and the Pacific with ADB's Key Indicators

Video | 10 September 2019

The Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific is 50 years old. Initially intended as a reference for Asian Development Bank staff, the Key Indicators has evolved to become one of ADB’s flagship publications, presenting crucial statistics on regional development issues to a wide audience including policymakers, development practitioners, government officials, researchers, students, and the general public.

Key Indicators has witnessed the region’s incredible journey from poverty to wider prosperity. From the first time Key Indicators was published in 1969, the region’s contribution to global economic output has more than doubled.

There are also significantly fewer Asians living in extreme poverty. By 2015, 264 million people were living on less than 1.9 dollars per day, far below the 1.5 billion living in extreme poverty in 1990.

Transcript

The Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific is 50 years old. Initially intended as a reference for Asian Development Bank staff, the Key Indicators has evolved to become one of ADB’s flagship publications, presenting crucial statistics on regional development issues to a wide audience including policymakers, development practitioners, government officials, researchers, students, and the general public.

Key Indicators has witnessed the region’s incredible journey from poverty to wider prosperity. From the first time Key Indicators was published in 1969, the region’s contribution to global economic output has more than doubled.

There are also significantly fewer Asians living in extreme poverty. By 2015, 264 million people were living on less than 1.9 dollars per day, far below the 1.5 billion living in extreme poverty in 1990.

With annual population growth of 1.6%, there are now 4.2 billion Asians versus 1.6 billion in the 1960s. To capitalize on this rich human resource and propel economic growth, Asians have long understood the need to invest in high-quality education. Today, many parts of the region enjoy literacy rates above the world average while those economies with lower rates are making considerable progress to catch up.

As the region’s economy has grown, living standards have also improved. A child born today in Asia and the Pacific is expected to live for 73 years, 20 years longer than a baby born in the 1960s. 

We have undoubtedly seen a dramatic social and economic transformation in Asia. But we must also look forward and tackle the challenges that lie ahead. Growing resource scarcity due to rising populations and natural hazards made worse by climate change are affecting millions of Asians. Statistics show that transitioning to greener growth will be a tough pursuit, with CO2 emissions per capita rising significantly faster than the world average. Economic inequality also remains a challenge.

The message is clear. We need a new paradigm of social and economic development if we want a region that is prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable. Countries are increasingly using data and statistics to design policies and actions across all sectors of the economy.

Key Indicators is helping that by monitoring statistics on regional development issues, including the Sustainable Development Goals. Statisticians at ADB’s Statistics and Data Innovation Unit are also working closely with government statistics staff in developing member countries to build their capacity to use innovative data collection methods to compile development statistics that are granular, relevant, timely, and reliable. 

Armed with data that can influence decision making and catalyze investment to create new economic opportunities, ADB and the region are moving forward together.