Highlights from the State of the Tropics Report relating to South Asia:
- In the past 60 years, the region had the greatest increase in life expectancy from 28 years to 65 years.
- It has the lowest obesity rate of less than 2% of the population, compared with the world rate of 10.5%.
- Since 1990, the number of undernourished people has been reduced by 19 million people; maternal mortality has been cut by 66%, and, since 1955, Under 5 mortality has dropped by almost 80%.
- The number of people living in extreme poverty has fallen from 59% in the 1980s to 33% this century, but the region’s slum population was the second highest in the Tropics at 115 million, with India accounting for 91% of this figure.
- Over 30 years adult literacy has increased from 42% of the population to 65%, while youth literacy in the past 20 years has risen from 69% to 84%. Tertiary enrolments have doubled since 2000.
- While greenhouse gas emissions have increased substantially, the region has the lowest per capita.
- Energy supply from renewable sources has almost trebled since 1980 although its proportion of the electricity mix in the region fell from 40% to 15% as total generation increased more than seven-fold.
- Of the tropical regions, South Asia has the highest proportion of land area classified as agricultural (61% in 2010). Stock holdings have jumped and cereal yields have almost doubled since 1980.
- Rapid population growth has meant that 90% of the population is vulnerable to water scarcity compared with less than one per cent in 1962.
- Along with South East Asia, the region is the largest aquaculture producer in the Tropics with production increasing from 32,000 tonnes in 1950 to four million tonnes by 2010.
- The region has a high proportion of its coral reefs in the low risk category and the smallest loss of mangroves, with the mangrove area in Bangladesh actually increasing due to a combination of sustainable resource use and active revegetation programs.
- The region has the highest proportion of tropical forests reserved for the conservation of biodiversity.
- Economic growth in the Tropics has outperformed the Rest of the World over the past 30 years, driven by the South Asia and South East Asian regions, which now provide 10.3% of all global economic output.
- South Asia reported the fastest growth in per capita GDP, increasing at an average rate of 4.6% per annum and the strongest growth in exports of good and services as a proportion of GDP.
- Strong import and trade growth is attributable to the introduction of more liberal trade policies in India and Bangladesh from the early 1990s.
- The region has the lowest homicide rate at 5.1 per 100,000 population, making it the only tropical region with a homicide rate comparable to the Rest of the World.
Nations in the South Asia region are Bangladesh (36.6% of population in the Tropics) India (54%) Maldives and Sri Lanka.