Kiribati - Poverty and wealth

Only 2 percent of the working population is registered as unemployed, and poverty (as defined by the US$1 a day poverty line) is virtually unknown. Using the purchasing power parity conversion (which takes into account the low prices of many basic commodities in Kiribati, and which is the best indication of living standards) annual income per capita was US$860 in 1999 (in the United States, by way of comparison, it was US$33,900).

Education is free and compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 15. Every atoll is provided with at least 1 primary school. The adult literacy rate was estimated at 90 percent in 1993-95. There are about 200 seamen trained each year by the Marine Training Center for employment by overseas shipping companies. In 1998, education was allocated US$7.8 million (22.5 percent of total budgetary expenditures).

The government maintains a free medical service. Each atoll has a dispensary, with a medical assistant in charge. In 1982, Kiribati had 34 government-controlled hospital establishments, with a total of 308 hospital beds. Life expectancy is 60 years (in the United States, by way

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
Kiribati 800 N/A N/A 860 850
United States 28,600 30,200 31,500 33,900 36,200
Philippines 2,600 3,200 3,500 3,600 3,800
Solomon Islands 3,000 3,000 2,600 2,650 2,000
Note: Data are estimates.
SOURCE: Handbook of the Nations , 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th editions for 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999 data; CIA World Factbook 2001 [Online] for 2000 data.

of comparison, it is 76). In 1999, a major public health project, involving the improvement of water supply and sanitation, was undertaken with a loan of some US$10 million from the Asian Development Bank.

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