A total of 174 countries are ranked in the United Nations Development Program 's (UNDP) Human Development Report 2000 according to the Human Development Indicator (HDI), which measures a country's state of well-being using income, education, and health measures. The HDI rank for Samoa was 95 which puts it in the middle range of countries, similar to other countries in Polynesia but higher than Melanesian countries. GDP per capita in 1998 was US$998, about one-thirtieth that of the United States.
There is no adequate information on income distribution in Samoa, but this may be inferred from other
|Exchange rates: Samoa|
|talas per US$1|
|SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].|
|GDP per Capita (US$)|
|SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.|
information. Another indicator developed by the UNDP is the Human Poverty Index (HPI). It measures conditions for those worst off in a country, such as their educational level, health status, access to health services, access to safe water, and incidence of malnutrition in children. Of 15 Pacific countries measured by the HPI, Samoa falls in the middle, meaning that the people worst off in Samoa are comparatively better off than the worst off in most Melanesian countries. On indicators of education, Samoa boasts 96 percent literacy and a high participation rate in education. School attendance is mandatory up to age 14 and there are no central government fees, although local communities may levy them to cover maintenance of buildings.
In health, the indicators are generally high, with universal access to health services and with most households having access to safe water. Health service is free and available through clinics as well as at 5 public hospitals. There is not a system of universal pensions, but those who have worked in formal employment are likely to have provided for a pension through the National Provident Fund. Most other older people depend on their nuclear or extended families, in Samoa and overseas. Since 1999, migrants returning from working in New Zealand are able to bring their New Zealand pensions with them, and this is expected to be an increasing source of income in Samoa as the number of these migrants increases.