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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   11  December 2010

Indonesia's Human Development Index Score Rises

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A child born in Indonesia today can expect to live on average 17 years longer than his or her parents born 30 years ago.

That was a key message from the latest human development report released by the United Nations Development Program on Friday.

Indonesia's life expectancy rose by 17 years, from 54 to 71, between 1980 and 2010. That was dramatically better than the average for East Asia and Pacific countries, which saw a 14-year rise from 59 to 73 over the 40 years from 1970 to today.

Indonesia's expected years of schooling have also improved by four years, from eight to 12, between 1980 and today, and per capita income has increased by 180 percent.

Across the region, the average literacy rate grew from 53 to 94 percent and school enrollment increased by seven percent.

The report measures the development level of 135 countries under the categories of health, education and income.

It shows South Asia as home to half of the world's poor population, or 844 million people, and reports that one-fifth of Indonesians suffer serious deprivation in more than one of the categories.

However, this year's report focuses on the continuing improvements in Indonesia, which it ranked fourth among 10 countries in which Human Development Index scores have been improving.

Indonesia is the sixth-best improving country for income-related issues and 10th for non-income issues.

"Indonesia went up in HDI [country] ranking from 111 to 108, and overall we see a positive progress," UNDP country director Beate Trankmann said. "The positive trends we have seen in Indonesia over the last few years have continued to this year."

However, Indonesia's actual HDI score is still a mediocre 0.600, the report notes. Norway tops the list with an HDI value of 0.938 while Zimbabwe ranked the lowest at 0.140. Indonesia is below Malaysia (57th), Thailand (92th) and the Philippines (97th) in Southeast Asia.

World average HDI has increased 18 percent since 1990, reflecting improvements across the development spectrum.

Trankmann warned Indonesia's figures could mask troubling geographical differences, though.

"Indonesia is a bit of mix. You see good progression on the income side, GDP is growing more than the regional average and there are sound economic policies," she said. "Indonesia has done comparatively better than other countries in the region.

"Sometimes, a deficit means the government wants to boost economic growth in the long term."

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