Asia - Demographics


Historical populations
Year Pop. ±%
1500 243,000,000
1700 436,000,000 +79.4%
1900 947,000,000 +117.2%
1950 1,402,000,000 +48.0%
1999 3,634,000,000 +159.2%
Source: "UN report 2004 data" (PDF).

East Asia had by far the strongest overall Human Development Index (HDI) improvement of any region in the world, nearly doubling average HDI attainment over the past 40 years, according to the report’s analysis of health, education and income data. China, the second highest achiever in the world in terms of HDI improvement since 1970, is the only country on the “Top 10 Movers” list due to income rather than health or education achievements. Its per capita income increased a stunning 21-fold over the last four decades, also lifting hundreds of millions out of income poverty. Yet it was not among the region’s top performers in improving school enrolment and life expectancy.
Nepal, a South Asian country, emerges as one of the world’s fastest movers since 1970 mainly due to health and education achievements. Its present life expectancy is 25 years longer than in the 1970s. More than four of every five children of school age in Nepal now attend primary school, compared to just one in five 40 years ago.
Japan and South Korea ranked highest among the countries grouped on the HDI (number 11 and 12 in the world, which are in the “very high human development” category), followed by Hong Kong (SAR)(21) and Singapore (27). Afghanistan (155) ranked lowest amongst Asian countries out of the 169 countries assessed.

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