Philippines lags behind neighbours in UN’s ‘human well-being’ study

Philippines lags behind neighbours in UN's 'human well-being' study
While the Philippines has a higher GDP than Vietnam, more people live below the poverty line

Life is now better for people in Vietnam than it is in the Philippines, according to an annual United Nations report.

For the first time, Vietnam has inched ahead in the latest United Nations Human Development Programme (UNDP) report on the state of people’s well-being across the globe.


While the Philippines continues to have a higher per-capita income, Vietnam’s recent economic growth has been better shared among its people, the report reveals.

While the proportion of the population living below the poverty line stood at 13.1 per cent in the Philippines, in Vietnam it has dropped to just 3.1 per cent.

The report, “Human Development Report 2016: Human Development for Everyone”, has been published annually for 25 years and measures how much populations benefit from economic growth.


The findings rest on the Human Development Index (HDI) which examines such matters as income, education and health. UNDP spokeswoman Helen Clark said this was to “give a more balanced picture of progress than measuring by GDP per capita alone can.”

In the latest HDI, the Philippines obtained at reading of 0.682 points, ranking the country at 116th among the 188 nations in the study.

While the Philippines’ 2016 HDI reading represented a slight rise from the previous year’s 0.679, its ranking of 116 was a one-notch drop from the year before.

Elsewhere in the region, Singapore continued to post the best HDI record — scoring 0.925 to share the fifth spot alongside Denmark.

Malaysia and Thailand ranked 59th and 87th, respectively, with HDI scores of 0.789 and 0.740, placing them in the “high human development” group.

In the “medium human development” category where Vietnam and the Philippines are ranked, there were four other Southeast Asian nations: Indonesia at 113th with an HDI score of 0.689, Laos at 138th with 0.586, Cambodia at 143rd with 0.563 and Myanmar at 145th with 0.556.

Worryingly, the Philippines was the only country in the region to fall in the rankings between 2010 and 2015, with a drop of seven places. The biggest improvements in ranking were those of Laos, up by five, and Thailand, up by four.