Solomon Islands - Poverty and wealth

The United Nations Development Program 's Human Development Indicator (HDI), which measures a country's welfare using income, education, and health statistics, ranks Solomon Islands 121st out of 174 countries.

Exchange rates: Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands dollars (SI$) per US$1
Nov 2000 5.0968
2000 5.0864
1999 4.8381
1998 4.8156
1997 3.7169
1996 3.5664
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Solomon Islands 419 583 666 784 753
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Philippines 974 1,166 967 1,064 1,092
Fiji 2,096 2,319 2,102 2,356 2,416
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.

Although it ranks as the second poorest nation in the Pacific, it is better off than many African countries. Per capita GDP in 1998 was only US$753, about one-fortieth that of the United States. This is a decline from the peak figure of US$784 in 1990. Still, in most parts of Solomon Islands there is little evidence of the desperate poverty found in some parts of the Third World. Most households have sufficient food, although nutrition surveys have found some cases of malnutrition, particularly in urban areas where food is expensive.

Other indicators show that Solomon Islands is a poor country. Seventy percent of adults are illiterate, and only 41 percent of boys and 36 percent of girls aged 5 to 14 were enrolled in primary school in 1999. Health services have improved in recent years, but infant mortality is relatively high at 38 per 1,000, and there is only 1 doctor for every 7,292 persons.

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