The above summary is based on volumes of recently released reports and data on job creation, education, middle class size, public hygiene, poverty and hunger over the last decade that offer new surprising insights into the lives of ordinary people in two South Asian countries. It adds to my previous post on this blog titled "India and Pakistan Contrasted in 2010".
Pakistan Created More Jobs:
Pakistan's employment growth has been the highest in South Asia region since 2000, followed by Nepal, Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka in that order, according to a recent World Bank report titled "More and Better Jobs in South Asia".
Total employment in South Asia (excluding Afghanistan and Bhutan) rose from 473 million in 2000 to 568 million in 2010, creating an average of just under 800,000 new jobs a month. In all countries except Maldives and Sri Lanka, the largest share of the employed are the low‐end self-employed.
Pakistan Graduated More People:
Although India has higher rates of literacy and enrollment than Pakistan, Pakistanis spend more time in schools and colleges and graduate at a higher rate than their Indian counterparts in 15+ age group, according to a report on educational achievement by Harvard University researchers Robert Barro and Jong-Wha Lee.
In a recent Op Ed titled "Preparing the Population for a Modern Economy" published by Pakistan's Express Tribune, Pakistani economist Shahid Burki wrote as follows:
"Pakistan does well in one critical area — the drop-out rate in tertiary education. Those who complete tertiary education in Pakistan account for a larger proportion of persons who enter school at this level. The proportion is much higher for girls, another surprising finding for Pakistan."
Upon closer examination of Barro-Lee data on "Educational Attainment for Total Population, 1950-2010", it is clear that Pakistani students stay in schools and colleges longer to graduate at higher rates than Indian students at all levels--primary, secondary and tertiary. While India's completion rate at all levels is a dismal 22.9%, the comparable completion rate in Pakistan is 45.7%.
Here is a summary of Barro-Lee's 2010 data in percentage of 15+ age group students who have enrolled in and-or completed primary, secondary and tertiary education:
Pakistan Has Larger Middle Class:
Over the last two decades, Pakistan has continued to offer much greater upward economic and social mobility to its citizens than neighboring India. Since 1990, Pakistan's middle class had expanded by 36.5% and India's by only 12.8%, according to an ADB report on Asia's rising middle class released recently.
|Asia's Middle Class Source: ADB|
An ADB report on Asia's rising middle class released this month confirms that Pakistan's middle class has grown to 40% of the population, significantly larger than the Indian middle class of about 25% of its population, and it has been growing faster than India's middle class. The other significant news reported by Wall Street Journal says the vast majority of what is defined as India's middle class is perched just above $2 a day, making it vulnerable to various shocks. This is also true of Pakistan.
Pakistan Has Less Hunger and Poverty:
In spite of recent poverty declines with its rapid economic expansion, India still has higher poverty rates than Pakistan, according to a 2011 World Bank report titled "Perspectives on poverty in India : stylized facts from survey data" released in 2011.
Overall, the latest World Bank data shows that India's poverty rate of 27.5%, based on India's current poverty line of $1.03 per person per day, is more than 10 percentage points higher than Pakistan's 17.2%. Assam (urban), Punjab and Himachal Pradesh are the only three Indian states with comparable or slightly lower poverty rates than Pakistan's.
Based on hunger data collected from 2003 to 2008, IFPRI reported that Pakistan's hunger index score improved over the last three consecutive years reported since 2008 from 21.7 (2008) to 21.0 (2009) to 19.1 (2010) and its ranking rose from 61 to 58 to 52. During the same period, India's index score worsened from 23.7 to 23.9 to 24.1 and its ranking moved from 66 to 65 to 67 on a list of 84 nations.
India's Economic Growth Outpaces Pakistan's
Indian economy has been growing faster than Pakistan for several years. The nominal per capita incomes in the two nation are still about the same at just over $1200, according to 2011 data released by Economic Survey of India and Economic Survey of Pakistan.
Nominal per capita incomes in both India and Pakistan stand at just over $1200 a year, according to figures released in May and June of 2011 by the two governments. This translates to about $3100 per capita in terms of PPP (purchasing power parity). Using a more generous PPP correction factor of 2.9 for India as claimed by Economic Survey of India 2011 rather than the 2.5 estimated by IMF for both neighbors, the PPP GDP per capita for Indian and Pakistan work out to $3532 and $3135 respectively.
Nominal per capita income of Indians grew by 17.9 per cent to Rs 54,835, or $1218, in 2010-11 from Rs 46,492 in the year-ago period, according to the revised data released by the government in May, 2011 as reported by Indian media.
Pakistan Has Better Public Hygiene:
India has the worst public sanitation situation in the world today, according to a recent UNICEF survey. In terms of open defecation, India(638m) is followed by Indonesia (58m), China (50m), Ethiopia (49m), Pakistan (48m), Nigeria (33m) and Sudan (17m). In terms of percentage of each country's population resorting to the unhygienic practice, Ethiopia tops the list with 60%, followed by India 54%, Nepal 50%, Pakistan 28%, Indonesia 26%, and China 4%.
18 percent of urban India still defecates in open while the percentage of rural India is as high as 69 percent of the population. It is the key reason why India carries among the highest infectious disease burdens in the world.
To conclude, let me share with you an except from a piece written by Mudassar Mazhar Malik, an MIT (Sloan) and LSE (London) educated Pakistani economist and investment banker,on his assessment of Pakistan today:
"First, despite seven changes in government in the past twenty years, Pakistan has maintained an average growth rate of 5 percent per annum. Until recently, Pakistan was being touted as one of the most dramatic turn-around stories of the last decade. Driven by domestic demand and population growth, GDP growth averaged over 6% a year from 2003-2008. This translated into an investment and infrastructure led growth cycle cycle fueling expansion in the housing, health care, education, food, infrastructure, energy, telecommunications, IT and financial services sector. This has meant that Pakistan's economy has moved progressively from its traditional agricultural base to manufacturing and increasingly to services. In that sense, Pakistan's economic structure is closer to that of India and China, and is unlike many smaller Asian countries, which are more dependent on export growth."
While it still has a very long way to go to improve its ordinary citizens' lives, resilient Pakistan has done reasonably well in terms of economic and social indicators over the last decade in spite of huge challenges. Just imagine how much better Pakistan could have done if it had any semblance of political stability and security.
Pakistan Tops Job Growth in South Asia
Pakistan Ahead of India in Graduation Rates
India-Pakistan Compared By Dr. Ishrat Husain
Public Sanitation Worst in India
Pakistan's Middle Class
Per Capita Incomes in India and Pakistan
The Pakistan Story After 64 Years
Resilient Pakistan Defies Doomsayers