Tonga - Poverty and wealth



GDP per capita rose from $1,300 in 1975 to $1,868 in 1998, according to the Asian Development Bank. The CIA World Factbook 2000 reports a slightly higher figure, which it estimated at US$2,200 for 1998. Although the Human Development Indicator (HDI) for Tonga does not appear among the 174 countries which are ranked in the UNDP's Human Development Report 2000 , it does appear in the UNDP's Pacific Human

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
Tonga 2,250 2,100 2,200 N/A 2,200
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 20theditions for 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999 data; CIA World Factbook 2001 [Online] for 2000 data.

Development Report 1999. In that report, Tonga has the sixth highest HDI of the 15 Pacific countries considered. Its GDP per capita is only the eighth highest of these countries, but it makes up for this with high indicators of education and health. Adult literacy for both men and women is reported to be near 99 percent, the highest of any Pacific country. Infant mortality, at 19 per 1,000, is one of the lowest in the Pacific, and this is illustrative of a good system of health delivery and a safe water system. Primary education is free and compulsory, and participation at secondary school is also high, resulting in a combined enrollment rate of 83 percent.

Still, there is some evidence of inequalities within the country. No calculated measures of the distribution of income or consumption are available, but there is some inequality of income between urban and rural areas. Squatter (one who lives somewhere without paying rent) settlements around the capital, Nuku'alofa, have a poor standard of housing and inadequate water and sanitation systems. In some rural areas, land access is inequitably distributed, despite the fact that all adult males on reaching their sixteenth birthday are supposed to be granted a plot of land by the local noble.

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Mitch
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Dec 14, 2011 @ 4:04 am
Thanks for writing such an easy-to-undersatnd article on this topic.

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