Palau - Poverty and wealth

There are no figures on the numbers below the poverty line, but given the income level and the structure of the economy, probably less than 10 percent of the population live in poverty. Most of those affected are among the 30 percent of the population living outside Koror, who rely on small-scale agriculture and fishing for their livelihoods. Infant mortality is 18 per 1,000 births in 2000 (in the United States, the rate is 6 per 1,000). The per capita GDP of Palau ($6,987 in 1998) was one-third that of Guam and about one-quarter that of Hawaii. Household and agricultural workers had the lowest wages, while bankers, insurance agents, and lawyers had the highest.

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
Palau N/A 8,800 7,100 N/A N/A
United States 28,600 30,200 8,800 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.

Retail workers made up the largest category of wage earners and reported an average yearly wage ($6,044) that was slightly lower than the GDP per capita .

A life expectancy in 2000 of 69 years is high, and the level of adult literacy, last surveyed in 1980, was 92 percent. Taken together with its upper-middle income status, these factors, when evaluated by the criteria used by the UN, give Palau a position near the top of the countries with a medium level of human development.

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