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Taiwan ranks 18th worldwide in human development: DGBAS

If the Republic of China was included in the United Nations Human Development Report (HDR) rankings, it would come in at number 18 in the Human Development Index (HDI) and place fourth in the Gender Inequality Index (GII), based on calculations by the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) under the Executive Yuan.

A rank of 18 would place Taiwan in the category of “Very High Human Development,” right behind Iceland and ahead of Belgium, with only Japan and South Korea in front, in terms of Asian countries.

Placing fourth on the GII, the R.O.C. would be right behind New Zealand and ahead of the United States in terms of gender equality and women's rights, health and political participation.

The U.N. HDR rankings are released annually, with the 2010 statistics available on its website. As Taiwan is not a member of the U.N., the DGBAS compiles the nation's numbers and statistics using the U.N.'s calculation methods to determine where Taiwan sits on the international rankings.

According to the U.N. website, the HDR “measures development by combining indicators of life expectancy, educational attainment and income” into the HDI. The HDI life expectancy at birth component is calculated using a minimum value of 20 years and maximum value of 83.2 years. The HDI education component is now measured by the “mean years” of schooling of adults aged 25 years and “expected years” of schooling for children. The wealth component measured the average spending power and income of public.

The U.N. created the GII as a way to “illuminate differences in the distribution of achievements between women and men.” The hypothetically high ranking of Taiwan at number four is mainly due to the “seats in parliament.” Currently 30 percent of seats in the legislature are occupied by women, compared to the less than 20 percent in South Korea.

Another factor was equal education opportunities for Taiwanese women. The ratio of the “population with at least secondary education” between men and women in Taiwan was 87 percent to 75 percent; South Korea showed a great disparity at 91 percent to 79 percent.

The U.S. came in at 38, due largely to the high adolescent fertility rate (35.9 percent) and a low percentage of females with seats in parliament (17 percent).

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