Guyana ranked 103 on human development index
-not much change from last year

November 10, 2006

Related Links: Articles on governance
Letters Menu Archival Menu

Guyana is ranked at 103 on the UNDP Human Development Index (HDI) this year, moving up three places from last year to a spot just one place above Jamaica (104) and leaving Haiti in the 154th spot among 177 countries.

The top ten countries on the HDI are Norway, followed by Iceland, Australia, Ireland, Sweden, Canada, Japan, the USA, Switzerland and The Netherlands.

The HDI was released in the 440-page UNDP Human Development Report yesterday in South Africa. It is titled 'Beyond Scarcity: Power, Poverty and the Global Water Crisis.'

Among Caricom countries, Barbados ranks the highest at 31 on the HDI. St Kitts and Nevis is at 51; the Bahamas at 52; Trinidad and Tobago, 57; Antigua and Barbuda, 59; Dominica, 68; St Lucia, 71; Grenada, 85; St Vincent and the Grenadines, 88; and Suriname, 89.

Cuba has been ranked at 50; Brazil, 69; and Venezuela, 72.

The report said statistics presented in different editions over the years might not be comparable owing to revisions to data or changes in methodology. For this reason the Human Development Report Office strongly advised against trend analysis based on data from previous editions. Similarly, HDI values and ranks were said to be not comparable across editions.

Nevertheless, Guyana which was ranked at 107 last year; was 104 in 2004 and in 2003 Guyana was ranked at 92.

Countries are classified by human development level, income, major world aggregates and regions. All HDI countries are classified into clusters by achievement - high human development, medium human development and low human development.

Of the Caricom countries, Guyana, Dominica, St Lucia, Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Jamaica are in the medium human development category. Haiti is in the low human development category while the other Caricom countries are in the high human development category.

In the income classification, countries are categorised using World Bank standards - high income (gross national income per capita of US$10,066); middle income (US$826 - US$10,065); and low income (US$825 or less).

Guyana's literacy rate, which has been questioned previously, is pegged at 96.5%; with life expectancy at birth being 63.6%; combined gross enrolment for primary and secondary and tertiary schools is pegged at 76%; and the GDP per capita income is US$439.

There is no ranking for Guyana's Human Poverty Index (HPI) but 18.2% of the cohort born between 200 and 2005 is not expected to survive to age 40; 17% percent of the population is without sustainable access to improved water source; and 14% of children under five years are underweight. No data was provided in the HDI for those earning US$2 a day nor was a poverty line indicated.

In terms of population trends, Guyana's population growth ranged from between 0.1% to -0.1% in 2004 and the total fertility rate of women (births per women) was 4.9 in the 1970s and 2.2 in the 2000s.

In terms of commitment to health - resources, access and services, 4% of the country's GDP goes to public health services and 0.8% goes to private health services; 94% of one year olds are immunized against tuberculosis and 88% against measles; and the country has had 48 physicians to 100,000 people between 1990 to 2004.

Seventy per cent of the population has sustainable access to improved sanitation and 83% has sustainable access to an improved water source; while nine percent of the population was undernourished between 2001 to 2003 compared to 21% between 1990 and 1992.

The HIV prevalence rate is 2.4% between the ages of 15 to 49 with only Trinidad and Tobago with a 2.6% prevalence rate and Haiti with a prevalence rate of 3.8%, pegged as higher among the Caricom countries.

Life expectancy for those born between 2000 and 2005 is now pegged at 62.9 years compared to 60 years in 1970 to 1975; the probability of the female born between 2000 to 2005 surviving to age 65 is 65.7% and the probability of the male surviving to the same age for the similar period is 52.2%; and the maternal mortality rate is 170 for every 100,000 live births at 2000.

In terms of spending on education, Guyana spends 5.5% of the GDP, which accounts for 18% of the total government's expenditure on that area. Of current public expenditure on education 55.9% is on pre-primary and primary education, 23% on secondary education, and 4.1% on tertiary education.

While the HDI has Guyana's literacy rate at 96.5% there are no statistics available for current adult and youth literacy rates. The 1997 adult literacy rate was 97.2% and the youth literacy rate for the same year was 99.8%. (Miranda La Rose)