Top 10 Facts Living conditions In Kenya
Kenya is a culturally rich country located in Eastern Africa along the equator and is one of the most significant places for paleontological discoveries about human’s ancestors. The presence of ethnic diversity within a population of 48.5 million people has amplified its cultural and linguistic wealth but, sadly, it has also been a source of conflict.

Despite the reoccurring security issues, including terrorist attacks by Al-Shabaab, Kenya has been achieving some tremendous changes in the political, structural and economic spheres through various reforms. These reforms were a result of a change in the constitution that took place in 2010 and has overall played a key role in the sustained economic growth and social development. The nation continues the deal with some pertinent issues such as poverty, inequality and climate change.

These top 10 facts living conditions in Kenya portray the living conditions in Kenya through the positive changes occurring as well as the challenges the country faces.

Top 10 Facts Living Conditions in Kenya

  1. The 2010 constitutional changes meant a significant part of changing the gears toward development for Kenya as it addressed historically rooted issues such as geographic, demographic and human rights issues that have been an obstacle for the progress of the nation.
  2. As a result of the changes, three years after the constitutional improvements took place, Kenya had a peaceful election for the offices of the National and County Government with demands for fair resource allocation and accountable service delivery.
  3. Kenya has made some commendable achievements including the fulfillment of some of the Millenium Development Goals such as the decrease in child mortality, universal primary school enrollment and the lessened gender gap in education.
  4. Kenya is considered to be one of the fastest growing economies in Africa with a growth rate near 5.8 percent, despite the setbacks caused by the 2008 global economic recession.
  5. Although the overall economy in the country is increasing, the gap between the rich and poor have been growing immensely. Almost 42 percent of the country’s population continues to live below the poverty line.
  6. Due to this great gap between the rich and poor the achievement of Millenium Development Goals, social security, in particular, have been a point of debate as the large part of the society still does not have sufficient access to basic services such as health care, education and clean water.
  7. The Kenya 2030 Vision development programme has the potential to change the lack of access for the larger part of the population through devolved health care as well as free maternal care that could greatly improve health care outcomes.
  8. In December 2017, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced what he called the “Big Four”, four pillars that will be most important in his last term as president and that are: manufacturing, universal health care, affordable housing and food security.
  9. There have been some security issues in recent years with a growing number of attacks due to the Islamist militant Al-Shabaab movement that has set camp in the neighboring country, Somalia. Some of the most infamous ones include the devastating attack in 2013 Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi and the attack on Garissa University in 2015.
  10. In recent years, Kenya has been dealing with a humanitarian issue as a result of the influx of refugees coming from Somalia that have reached over 500,000 people, while refugees immigrating from South Sudan amount to over 30,000 people.

As a country with a tremendous number of young people, skilled labor, a revised constitution and infrastructural resources, Kenya has the potential to be one of the leading nations in the Eastern African. In order to reach such heights, however, it is essential that the country produces and implements sustainable solutions for its security, social and political problems while putting efforts to alleviate poverty.

Bilen Kassie
Photo: Flickr

10 facts about living conditions in Paraguay
According to the World Bank report in 2017, Paraguay has achieved impressive economic and shared prosperity over the last 15 years. From 2014 to 2017, Paraguay’s economy grew by 4.5 percent per year on average. In 2015, the middle class made up 38 percent of the total population, almost doubling since 2003.

For Paraguay’s poor, though, living conditions have remained difficult. Indeed, the country ranks fourth in extreme poverty, after Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua, according to a 2016 ECLAC report. In the article below, top 10 facts about living conditions in Paraguay are presented.

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Paraguay

  1. Inequality is widespread. Though the country’s GINI coefficient, that indicates economic inequality, has dropped from 0.51 to 0.47, there is still a significant gap between rich and poor Paraguayans. According to the General Statistics Surveys and Census Bureau (DGEEC), the poorest 40 percent of Paraguayans earn only 12.5 percent of the nation’s revenue, while the richest 10 percent earn 37.1 percent of the total income.
  2. Underemployment is high and working conditions are poor. In 2017, underemployment was recorded at 19 percent, while 20 percent of Paraguayans worked less than 30 hours per week. In the Chaco region of Paraguay, region dominated by large-scale cattle agricultural facilities, some workers characterized their working conditions as a form of slave labor.
  3. Small-scale farmers are losing their jobs due to the big agricultural companies. Almost 90 percent of the land belongs to just 5 percent of landowners. The rural-urban economic gap is the result of large-scale agriculture steadily monopolizing the market in Paraguay. Studies have confirmed that, between 1991 and 2008, when the last National Agricultural Census was conducted, the number of farms and homesteads covering less than 100 hectares has shrunk, while those between 100 and 500 hectares has risen by almost 35 percent, and massive plantations covering more than 500 hectares are up by almost 57 percent. In late March 2017, 1,000 farmers converged on Asunción, country’s capital, in an annual march, demanding agrarian reform.
  4. Paraguayan democracy is lacking in social components. It consists almost exclusively to ensure that institutions function, elections are held regularly and transparently. A steady stream of scandals has revealed widespread fraud and corruption.
  5. One-fifth of the people who live in Asunción live in slums. Although complete official accounting of informal settlements is not available, the National Housing Bureau, SENAVITAT, estimates that there are 1,000 slum areas around the city. Slums along the flood-prone riverbanks of the city sometimes house up to 100,000 people. There has been a dramatic increase in the production of social housing for low-income families living in Asunción. In 2016, the Ministry built more than 10,000 low-income housing units, compared to less than 2,000 units built in 2014.
  6. Paraguayans face hunger and malnutrition. Only 6 percent of agricultural land is available for domestic food production, while 94 percent is used for export crops. According to the Food Security Index, around 10 percent of children under the age of 5 currently suffer from stunting. Nearly 27 percent of pregnant women are underweight, while 30 percent are overweight.
  7. Educational attainment is lacking. The 2016-2017 Global Competitive Index of the World Economic Forum ranked the overall quality of Paraguay’s primary education system at the 136th place out of 138 countries. Around 65 percent of children do not complete secondary education which is one of the highest dropout rates in Latin America. The latest 2017 household survey showed that about 5 percent of the adult population, or roughly 280,000 people, are still illiterate. This number has not decreased over the past decade.
  8. The rates of poverty and extreme poverty among indigenous people are at 75 percent and 60 percent, respectively. Factors such as corruption, the concentration of land ownership and environmental degradation combined with institutional weaknesses hinder progress in alleviating poverty and create obstacles for the indigenous people to maintain access to their fundamental rights, such as water, education and health care. The rate of chronic malnutrition among the indigenous population is 41.7 percent. Some indigenous communities have seen improvements, though, in regards to increased food security. A food-security cash-transfer program, Tekoporã, expanded to cover more indigenous population- from 3 percent in 2013 up to nearly 70 percent in 2018.
  9. Health care is not accessible to everyone. An estimated 40 percent of the population is unable to afford health care of any kind. Around 7 percent have private health coverage and 20 percent are covered by the health services of the social security institute, the Instituto de Previsión Social. The rest depend on the public health system.
  10. Paraguay has made giant leaps in increasing access to clean drinking water. The country triumphantly achieved almost complete access to safe drinking water among its rural population, from 51.6 percent in 2000 to 94 percent in 2017.

These 10 facts about living conditions in Paraguay provide a snapshot of the experience of Paraguay’s poor and exemplify that economic growth does not always translate to improved living conditions for everyone.
Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Taiwan

With more than 23.5 million citizens, the island of Taiwan is one of the most populated islands in the entire world.

Although many inhabitants are fluent in English, the official language of the land is Mandarin Chinese. Those who are born in Taiwan will often spend their lives in the country, along with those who move there.

Due to the delicious food, variety of outdoor activities, and diverse people, Taiwan is home to many exciting opportunities and an extravagant culture.

In the text below, top 10 facts about living conditions in Taiwan are presented.

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Taiwan

  1. The cost of living in Taiwan is cheaper than the cost of living in the Western or densely populated countries such as Japan or China. Rent prices in Taiwan are 17.90 percent lower than those in Japan and grocery prices are 14.92 percent lower.
  2. The capital of Taiwan, Taipei, is most known for its convenience. Many apartment complexes are within walking distance of many grocery markets, convenience stores, coffee shops and local restaurants. Contrary to the Western ones, Taiwanese convenience stores offer other services besides selling groceries and goods such as printing and utility payment counters.
  3. Along with its convenience, Taiwan is the destination for a variety of outdoor activities. The activities such as hiking, biking, camping, mountain climbing, paragliding, river tracing and surfing are wildly popular among native citizens and foreign tourists. With scenic geography, varied coastlines, cliffs, waterfalls and rivers, Taiwan offers many easily accessible opportunities to enjoy nature.
  4. Taiwan adopted a national health care system in 1995. Often praised for its easy accessibility, short waiting times, low cost and comprehensive population coverage, the National Health Insurance (NIH) system combined many small insurance schemes that only covered 57 percent of the population before 1995, into a singular, efficient national insurance system. Every Taiwanese citizen has an NIH card that identifies the person, brief medical history and payment information.
  5. Although the NIH covers an estimated 99 percent of the Taiwanese population, excluding those who have moved out of the country, the outpatient and wait times are relatively high. The average outpatient department rate is 14 patients per year per person. It is also not rare for many general practitioners to consult more than 50 people in a day, therefore limiting time with each individual patient to 5 minutes or less. Short contact times could contribute to misdiagnosis and higher patient volume and medical costs with searches for a second or third opinion.
  6. There are many environmental hazards that are prevalent in the urban areas of Taiwan. Vehicle pollution contributes to the occasion smog that may plague large and small cities such as Taipei and worsens air conditions around the suburban and rural areas. A lot of the air pollution that plagues Taiwanese inhabitants are blown down from mainland China.
  7. Environmental degradation is mainly caused by Taiwan’s increase in economy and industrialization. Taiwan’s economic success was in part contributed by zero restrictions concerning healthy environmental criteria. Water pollution is caused by 25 percent domestic sewage, 54 percent industrial water waste and 21 percent domestic animal waste. Untreated sewage water has caused high cases of hepatitis and with waste freely dumped in the water, air and on land, occupational diseases and cancer has doubled in the country since 1954.
  8. Many rural areas that supply agricultural goods have moved from pesticides and herbicides to the conservation of biodiversity among farms and forestry. In May 2018, with the help of the Forestry Bureau and local nongovernment organizations, as many as 200 farms across Taiwan have stopped chemical farming and began engaging in environmentally friendly farming.
  9. Impoverishment in Taiwan is met if the household average monthly income does not meet the estimated monthly minimum of its respective province or district. According to the National Encyclopedia, poverty in Taiwan only affects about 1 percent of its inhabitants, estimated at 129,968 people. This low number is a result of the government’s support of welfare programs that offer a variety of assistance and opportunities for low-income families. In 1999, the government allocated $5.08 billion for social welfare programs to support job-placement assistance, civic organizations, academic institutions and other foundations that aid with displaced or disadvantaged citizens.
  10. The Taiwanese government offers many elderly services to help support those who are retired or disabled. Social welfare programs offer day care services for elders who suffer from dementia, in-care home services for those over 65 with disabilities, residential homes, health insurance premium subsidies, protection services, special caregivers for low-income families, senior citizens services information hotlines and long-term care.

According to an InterNations Expat Insider Survey, 84 percent of expatriates were satisfied with their financial situation in Taiwan compared to the global average of 64 percent.

These top 10 facts about living conditions in Taiwan highlight how the welcoming and exciting atmosphere of Taiwan not only provide a satisfactory home for the country’s natives but also an inviting hand towards tourists and expatriates.

– Aria Ma

Photo: Flickr

 

Top 10 Facts about Living Conditions in Mozambique Located in the Southeastern region of Africa, Mozambique is an interesting country with a rich culture and, like many of its neighbors, a painful history.

In this article, the top 10 facts about living conditions in Mozambique are presented.

  1. Mozambique had a population of almost 20 million in 2002. The country’s population is estimated to reach 33.3 million by 2025 and a staggering 50 million people by the year 2050. Currently, the country’s population of around 30 million only confirms that the estimated figure may be reached, if not even surpassed. Out of the total population, 96 percent is made up of black Africans whilst the Portuguese, Asians and the mixed race make up the remaining 4 percent.
  2. In 2002, an estimated two-thirds of Mozambique’s population was illiterate. At the time, education was compulsory for people in the age group from 7 to 14. Mozambique was under Portuguese rule and the black population had limited opportunities for education and only a few of the elite could study in Portugal at that time. Now, the literacy rates are much higher as 58.55 percent of the adult population from age 15 up are able to read and write.
  3. Illiteracy is high among the indigenous people of Mozambique and as a result, an independent indigenous paper is not a feasible option. The highest selling paper is the Portuguese Noticias. Its circulation ranges between 25,000 and 50,000. The state-controlled Radio Mozambique is the country’s main source of news and information. However, Mozambique has about 40 other community radio and television stations that are approved by the government.
  4. Constitution of Mozambique protects the freedom of the press thus journalists in Mozambique have been able to write stories that criticize the government without being victimized. However, journalists face criminal libel laws that ensure that they have a certain level of self-censorship. In May 2018, the country stepped down six places in the Reporters without Borders (RSF) rankings that measure safety for reporters in a country. Mozambique fell from 93rd to 99th but as a result of other countries improvement in this field.
  5. Mozambique has an average rainfall level of about 55 inches per year yet the country imports its food. In 2016, food imports were at 15 percent. Mozambique’s own agricultural products include shrimp, fish, tea, sisal, coconuts, corn, millet, cassava and peanuts. The country has a need to import other things like wheat in order to cover the food deficit.
  6. The national poverty rates in the country are estimated to range from 41 to 46 percent of the country’s population. This means that around 11 million people in the country are absolutely poor. Whilst the welfare levels have improved at the national level compared to previous years, the gains have not contributed to a convergence in welfare levels between rural and urban zones.
  7. In 1990, Mozambique was one of the poorest countries in the world and the poverty reached approximately 80 percent of the total population. The Millennium Development Goal was set to reduce poverty by half but it proved to be too difficult to reach. After the war in 1992, Mozambique experienced strong growth and stability for a while. From 2002 to 2009, poverty reduction became stagnant. After that period, from 2009 to 2015, the country’s economy kept growing at a slow but stable pace.
  8. In rural Mozambique, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has begun educating women in the society about food security. A few women undergo training as “care mothers”, then they go out into the community and teach the other women what they have learned. They are taught how to have a balanced diet and a healthy number of meals in a day as well as how to garden at home so that they can produce what they need for a balanced diet themselves.
  9. Like many African countries, people rely on public transportation in Mozambique. Buses, minibusses and taxis are the common means of transport in urban areas. In rural places, transport ranges from minibusses and pickup trucks to bicycles and boat taxis. The roads are in bad shape despite investments in restoring the roads. Public transport is not always reliable and may not be on schedule.
  10. Most of the girls in Mozambique are enrolled in primary school but by the fifth grade, only 11 percent are left to continue their education and only 1 percent of girls make it to college. The government has made efforts to give all children access to education, however, the quality of education is below standard.

As a third world African country, Mozambique has similar living conditions to other poor and developing countries.

Although the people in the country endure many hardships, they live full lives steeped in culture and tradition.

Their lives revolve around their families and communities and their customs stem from local influences rather than national ones.

– Aquillina Ngowera

Photo: Flickr

10 Facts About Life Expectancy in South Korea
South Korea is home to beautiful great plains, cherry blossom trees and charming architecture of centuries worth of history and many other awe-inspiring attractions.

Along with its rich cultural heritage, the average life expectancy in South Korea is rising rapidly due to advanced medical and technological innovation.

This list of 10 facts about life expectancy in South Korea articulates the importance of the nation’s universal health care system and how it contributes to the rising impoverished elderly population and the rapidly increasing average life expectancy.

10 Facts About Life Expectancy in South Korea

  1. The National Institute of Biomedical Information conducted a study that researched the cause of life expectancy in South Korea increasing over the past few decades. The study compared life table data and mortality statistics to observe the age and cause-specific contributions to life expectancy. It concluded that the rapid increase of life expectancy in South Korea can be attributed to the reductions in infant mortality rate, cardiovascular diseases (especially stroke and hypertension diseases), stomach cancer, liver cancer and tuberculosis through the advancement of medicine and technology.
  2. With life expectancy increasing at a rapid rate, the quality of life also contributes to its growth. South Korea achieved a universal health care plan called the National Health Insurance Program that allows medical aid to anyone who needs it without worrying about cost. In 2010, all private insurance companies were integrated into the National Health Insurance Program.
  3. Funding for the National Health Insurance Program comes from contributions, government subsidies and tobacco surcharges. Employee insured individuals are required to contribute 5 percent of their salary. Self-employed individuals’ contributions are based on their level of income. The contributions calculations take into account gender, age, motor vehicle and private property of an individual. Those living on islands or remote areas have reduced contribution percentages.
  4. The Medical Aid Program covers about 3.7 percent of the South Korean population. It was established in 1979 for low-income households and provides paid expenses for those who could not afford high medical costs. After 2004, the program expanded to cover rare and chronic disease and those under the age of 18. It is jointly funded by the local and federal government, with the local government choosing beneficiaries based on a set of criteria set forth by the South Korean Ministry.
  5. Nongovernment organizations such as the Federation of Evicted People of Seoul (FEPS), the Federation of National Street Vendors (FNSV), the Korean Coalition for Housing Rights (KCHR), the Korea Centre for City and Environment Research (KOCER) and the Korea National Association of the Urban Poor focus attention on low-income areas and housing difficulties. They aim to secure housing of tenants and demand that the government stops evicting residents from their homes without offering proper compensation. These organizations also take action in the form of public demonstrations in front of government buildings, lectures with different approaches to solving housing crises and host anti-eviction movements.
  6. An international team of scientists in the summer of 2017 predicted that by 2030, the life expectancy of women and men in South Korea on average would rise up to 90 and 83, respectively. However, according to the OECD, older adults over the age of 65 still live in poverty. A survey concluded that 48.6 percent of the elderly were in poverty, the highest level of the 36 OECD countries.
  7. Elders who live in poverty are not in absolute poverty, but relative poverty. They live below 50 percent of the South Korea median income. With access to universal health care and free treatment, they are able to live longer due to easily accessible medical intervention.
  8. With the ideals of Confucianism fading away, the traditions of filial piety disappear along with it. Many elders refuse financial support from their children because they do not want to burden them. Those over 65 with social security often live on most of their meager monthly pension.
  9. Almost a quarter of the impoverished elderly live in isolation and many commit suicide in fear of being a burden to their family. This results in high levels of depression, anxiety, and loneliness. South Korea has the 10th highest rate of suicide in the world and elderly suicide has risen from 34 per 100,000 people in 2000 to 72 per 100,000 people in 2010.
  10. Facilities such as the Buddhist temple that offers free lunches in Tapgol Park in Seoul serve about 140 people a day. The economy and market strain possibility of elders finding work, resulting in them begging for food or waiting in long lines in facilities such as the one in Tagpol Park. Some elders will work past the retirement age in order to live with basic necessities such as food and water because monthly pension plans are not sustainable enough.

These 10 facts about life expectancy in South Korea show that the majority of the impoverished people in the country are from the elderly community.

Despite the fact that the elderly live on low pension wages in poor living conditions, they also receive universal health care that covers medical expenses.

The list above highlights how the universal health care system in South Korea affects growing impoverished, elderly population and how does it increase the life expectancy and improves living conditions in the country.

– Aria Ma
Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Syria
Since the Arab Spring that occurred in March 2011, Syria has been embroiled in a civil war.

In the preceding seven years, the living conditions for the people of Syria have deteriorated significantly and thrown almost 80 percent of the country’s population into poverty.

In the article below, top 10 facts about living conditions in a war-torn country of Syria are presented.

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Syria

  1. The number one threat to the people living in Syria is the high level of violence. In a complex civil war that involves many different participants, civilians have been caught in the crossfire. Children often fare the worst, facing violence, exploitation and recruitment, death and injury. The people of Syria endure bombings, extrajudicial killings, detainment, torture and chemical attacks that have led to the deaths of over 500,000 people. Some improvement has been made, however, by providing more investigative mechanisms like the work of the Syria Justice and Accountability Centre (SJAC) to document and help prevent the violence and hold people accountable.
  2. The war has forced more than 6.6 million people to become internally displaced, leaving their homes in order to escape violence. Oftentimes, Syrians take shelter in informal settlements in abandoned buildings with extended family members. UNHCR Shelter already has over 400,000 displaced people and is still working to provide official collective shelters and emergency shelter interventions in order to reduce suffering and decrease displacement.
  3. In Syria, 10.5 million people have insecure access to food or are unable to meet their basic food needs. There are a number of factors that contribute to this, such as the large numbers of displaced people, damaged or detained agriculture land and severely high food prices. The United States alone has provided over 2.7 billion dollars in emergency food assistance to Syria since 2012, which has helped to provide gravely needed aid.
  4. Lack of water has been a major issue throughout the Syrian civil war as 14.6 million people need access to clean water. All sides of the war have held water hostage, but it has left many civilians as collateral damage. Due to damaged infrastructure, there is severely limited running water, forcing Syrians to be almost entirely dependent on foreign aid.
  5. Due to the conflict, Syria’s once priority on education has fallen by the wayside. One in four schools are no longer operational, and over two million children are not in school. However, strides of progress have been made. Five million children are currently attending schools in Syria. Through donors and brave teachers, these children have been able to receive schooling, though more work needs to be done.
  6. The trauma of war is pervasive and can severely impact mental health. In Idlib alone, 90 percent of the population suffers from depression due to their difficult living conditions. For children, being out of school can impact their mental health. In combating this, the No Lost Generation put forward by UNICEF helps 4.2 million children, providing psychosocial support and helping them return to normalcy by getting them back into schools.
  7. The major difficulty in maintaining the physical well-being and health of Syrians is the inability of health workers to access people in need. Over 200 hospitals have been targeted, making Syria one of the most dangerous places in the world for health care workers. More than 11 million people are in need of health assistance. The WHO has managed to deliver 14 million treatments, showing how, despite the danger, many international health workers have not given up.
  8. Discrimination has also played a role in the living conditions in Syria. It is most significant for the ISIS-held areas, where at least 25 men have been murdered after being accused of homosexuality. Women are severely restricted, mostly by their freedom of movement. The religious minority of Yazidi girls have also been tortured or sexually enslaved.
  9. Like many other countries across the world who endure poverty, priorities have to be shifted and culture is lost along the way. ISIS has also specifically targeted six sites of cultural heritage, damaging and endangering many parts of history. This is considered to be a war crime and has led to the organization ALIPH raising millions of dollars to protect these sites.
  10. The Assad regime continues to be one of the main perpetrators of violence and human rights abuses against the Syrian people. Over 12,000 people have been killed while being detained by the government. In coordination with Russia, the Syrian government has also used internationally banned tactics such as cluster munitions, incendiary weapons and chemical weapons. For those living in Syria, the government poses a threat, and the hope for change is an end to the war and the installation of a new democratic government.

The top 10 facts about living conditions in Syria are shown to be some of the harshest in the world. Embroiled in a civil war that has lasted for seven years, millions have been thrown into poverty, face violence and lack access to basic needs required for life.

However, the people of Syria are not alone. International groups have not given up on the people in Syria and continue to offer aid and assistance to all those in need, despite the danger and risk involved.

Because that is what it will take to end the immense human suffering borne out of war- courage and a willingness to never give up.

– Brenna Boytim
Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Libya
Libya, located on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa, has been marked by turmoil since the Arab Spring that occurred in 2011.

Formerly a dictatorship, the country has undergone many changes in recent years.

The top 10 facts about living conditions in Libya presented in the article below highlight what life is like in the country today.

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Libya

  1. Libya is in a state of political unrest. Since the fall of former leader Moammar Gadhafi, the Libyan government has splintered into multiple factions, including two parliaments, two central banks, three potential prime ministers and multiple armed militia groups.
  2. Recent plans to hold general elections in early December have been canceled. Due to stalled talks between factions, the elections did not take place, but a recent summit in Palermo saw both factions recognized by U.N.- Government of National Accord and General Khalifa Hafter, who holds sway over much of Eastern Libya, open to holding elections in early 2019.
  3. A recent ceasefire in Tripoli is still active. The ceasefire, brokered by the U.N. in September continues to hold, with armed groups within the capital withdrawing from key locations. Libyan officials hope to replicate the success achieved in the capital elsewhere in the country.
  4. Libya relies heavily on its oil reserves. The country has the largest oil reserves in Africa and the ninth largest in the world, estimated at 48,363 billion barrels. Oil and natural gas are out of most importance for the country economically, accounting for about 60 percent of GDP and 82 percent of export earnings. Sadly, due to the current climate in the country’s crude oil production has fallen, from over 1,500 barrels per day before the 2011 war to 1,000 barrels per day in 2018.
  5. The current political situation and a drop in oil production have led to a high unemployment rate, but the situation is improving. In recent years, unemployment has been slowly but steadily decreasing, from 19 percent in 2012 to 17.7 percent in 2017.
  6. One of the biggest challenges facing the Libyan population is access to health care. As a result of the recent conflict, only four of the country’s hospitals are functioning at high capacity, and over 20 percent of the country’s primary health care facilities are closed.
  7. Improvements in health care are underway. The World Health Organization (WHO) has been able to distribute the first batch of essential medicines to multiple primary health care centers. The medicine will benefit an estimated 19,000 people for three months, and a second and third batch of deliveries are in the works.
  8. The life expectancy in the country is high. Since the middle of the 20th century, life expectancy has improved dramatically. In 1950, the average lifespan was just 52.9 years. Since then, the average lifespan has increased to 76.7 years in 2018.
  9. Unrest in the country has led to intermittent access to water. The country’s largest city, Tripoli, saw its supply of water cut off by armed groups twice- at the end of 2017 and in September 2018, with one such cut lasting nearly a week, forcing residents to rely on potentially unsafe water.
  10. Programs are in place to improve living conditions in Libya. The Government of National Accord, with the U.N. support, launched the Stabilization Facility for Libya. Through the program supplies such as ambulances, garbage trucks, solar panels and computers are being provided to schools and government offices. The program is also helping repair damaged infrastructure and provide education to millions across the nation.

Although there is still uncertainty for the country’s future, these top 10 facts about living conditions in Libya show that there is a reason to believe things are getting better.

Projects like the Stabilization Facility for Libya, the decreasing unemployment rate and the potential for new general elections all show that things are getting better for Libyan citizens.

– Peter Zimmerman
Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Estonia
Estonia, a small Baltic nation, is often perceived by the Western countries as the standard bearer of former communists values that took steps to embrace capitalistic and democratic ideals.

Be that as it may, poverty is still very prevalent in this European nation and living conditions in Estonia are certainly not ideal.

Top 10 facts about living conditions in Estonia, the most important facts, both positive and negative, within the context of Estonians’ access to shelter, education, transportation, health and general well-being will be discussed in this article.

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions In Estonia

  1. According to the OECD index, the average Estonian household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is $18,665 a year. This number is significantly lower than the OECD average of $30,563 a year. This figure represents the amount of money available to be spent on necessary goods and services, such as food and heating. With this average, Estonia lacks behind countries such as Slovenia, the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.
  2. There is a considerable income disparity between the rich and poor in Estonia. The top 20 percent of the population earn more than five times as much as the bottom 20 percent. In an interview with Estonian Public Broadcasting, the CEO of Swedbank Eesti, Robert Kitt, said that though Estonia has a strong and thriving business sector inequality is also greater than ever before.
  3. Estonia has the most carbon-intensive economy within the OECD. However, with 51 percent of Estonia’s land being forest, Estonians are breathing well. The level of atmospheric particulate matter, air pollutant particles small enough to cause damage to lungs and make breathing harder, is well below the OECD average.
  4. Estonia provides hot school lunches, study books and learning materials for free to students in basic education. This is a standard since 2006 and is a clear step of the country in enabling education more equitable and accessible to everyone. And it has worked since Estonia has one of the highest levels of educational attainment, with 90 percent of people in the age group of 25 from 64 have completed upper secondary education. Estonian women perform exceedingly well in tertiary education with 45 percent of Estonian women completing the third level of education, compared to 28 percent of Estonian men achieving the same feat.
  5. A surprising fact about living conditions in Estonia is that a comparatively high percentage of citizens live below the poverty line. By estimation, 3.4 percent of the population lives under the poverty line, and by this regard, Estonia is similar to nations such as Ecuador and Venezuela, nations that are perceived as being economically unstable and inequitable.
  6. Estonia has a solidarity health insurance system, ensuring the same quality of care for all insured people, regardless of age, income or health risks. Additionally, citizens with disabilities receive social allowance through the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund.
  7. Estonia has a very small homeless population. The Foundation Abbé Pierre and Feantsa estimate that around 1,371 Estonians are homeless. Lodging shelters, homeless shelters and resource centers have stepped in to help those that are indeed homeless, especially in the most populous city in Estonia, Tallinn, where there is the most need for this aid.
  8. According to the World Bank, in 1994, the average life expectancy of Estonians was at 66.5 years. In 2016, this number was at 77.8 years, Although the life expectancy rate has vastly improved, it still lags behind the average of the European Union. Estonia faces a shortage of nurses and family physicians, as funding for such services has dwindled in rural regions of Estonia. At 6.5 percent of its GDP being spent on health care, Estonia is short of the EU member-state average of 9.9 percent.
  9. About 94 percent of Estonians are insured. The others, uninsured, do receive emergency care, as well as take part in other public health programs and treatments in which the national or city government provides compensation or free care. Tuberculosis and HIV drug treatments are covered by the state in many cases.
  10. Bus transportation is free for Estonian citizens, as long as they are located in a territory that has accepted national government funds to do so. Because of this, travel from outer regions to urban centers such as Tallinn is very affordable, if not free, allowing for more movement of peoples and funds as well.

Like most Western nations, Estonia is no perfect place for all of its people. Poverty is high while general satisfaction is lower than average, but steps have been taken to ensure better living conditions such as access to transportation, education and health care.

In the article, both the negative and positive aspects of Estonia’s current living conditions are presented, as well as the comparison of these living conditions to other nations in order to allow one to more easily discern what life is like for those in Estonia and compare it to their own lives.

– Kurt Thiele
Photo: Unsplash

Factors affecting Guatemala’s Life Expectancy
Guatemala, a small country located in Central America, is striving to decrease its deaths among the population and to improve its quality of life.

This is being done by focusing on health care, safety and disease prevention since these are the main causes affecting Guatemala’s life expectancy in the country.

In the text below, 10 facts about life expectancy in Guatemala are presented, and the special attention is given to problems that affect women and children in the country.

10 Facts About Life Expectancy in Guatemala

  1. According to the latest WHO data published in 2018, life expectancy in Guatemala is 70.4 years for male and 76.0 for female. The total life expectancy is 73.2. This places Guatelama in 94th place in World Life Expectancy ranking.
  2. According to the UNICEF data, four out of 10 children under the age of 5 suffer from poor nutrition. This issue is even worse for the indigenous population since eight out of 10 children, or double more than the average, suffer from the same problem. Health-wise problems at an early age can affect growth, both cognitively and physically.
  3. The Guatemalan government has stepped in by providing more health coverage through the Extension of Coverage Program. The program teaches Guatemalan citizens about nutrition as well as preventative measures. As a result, the percentage of children under the age of 2, who had previously been undernourished, dropped by 13 percent, starting at 73 percent and ending at 60 percent.
  4. The serious problem in the country is the rate at which babies are dying. According to the World Bank, in the early 2000s, only one out of five pregnant women received proper care. This resulted in low birth weights and respiratory infections. The Extension of Coverage Program has strengthened 40 subsidiary level facilities in order to ensure safer births. The program has made it possible for mothers to get care during their pregnancy and while in labor. As a result, the death rate of pregnant women in Guatemala has fallen by almost 2 percent. In June 2006, the rate was 3.2 percent compared to 1.24 percent recorded in December 2012.
  5. Violence in Guatemala is another serious issue that affects life expectancy indirectly. Peace Women reported that 22 percent of women’s deaths are connected with organized or gang-related activities, 24 percent are related to domestic violence, and 23 percent are attributed to blackmail. Most of the sexual and physical abuse of women goes unnoticed.
  6. The Presidential Commission against Femicide established in 2009, has a goal to address the factors that are causing women to lose their lives. They have put new laws into effect that allow police to enter a home without a warrant if they fear that a woman is in danger.
  7. Another law, that was passed in 2007, has now made it a criminal offense to injure or kill a woman. The sentences run from 25 up to 50 years for homicides, and five to 12 years for physical violence or sexual assault. Guatemala’s female deaths have plummeted from 720 to 651.
  8. Gang-related crimes affect Guatemalan children as well. Girls are sexually assaulted and boys are recruited. According to UNICEF, there are about 46 children, most of them adolescents, murdered each month. While most of the deaths are caused by guns, the others are related to sexual assault, kidnapping and missing person reports, among others.
  9. The reason that gang violence is one of the causes affecting Guatemala’s women and children is that Guatemalan gangs operate on their own terms. In the Global Post, Rodriguez talks about how Guatemalan gangs are similar to L.A. gangs when they first started out. Rodriguez recalls, “In the early days of gangs in L.A., raping a woman was a good way to develop your reputation. I knew a guy who raped dozens of women.”
  10. Guatemalan authorities have arrested leaders associated with various gangs, but it does not seem to stop them. Most of the leaders just continue their operations from inside the jail, making it difficult for them to put an end to this vicious cycle.

The 10 factors about life expectancy in Guatemala for women and children can be solved through consistent use of better health care methods and stricter safety regulations.

With the help of more developed nations and various nongovernmental organization, the development in the country can be easily achieved.

Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Singapore
Along the southern coast of the Malay Peninsula occupying roughly 718 kilometers worth of estate lies the smallest nation of Southeast Asia.

Singapore, originating from the Malay word, Singapura, meaning Lion City, is home to a population of roughly six million people, a largely non-corrupt government and a near spotless metropolitan district.

From its diverse socio-cultural community to the clean and eco-friendly urban environment, Singapore boasts some of the highest living standards in all of Asia.

According to the 2018 World Happiness Report, the country has been deemed the “happiest country in Southeast Asia”.

Among the plethora of reasons supporting this title, in the article below top 10 facts about living conditions in Singapore that make it one of the friendliest countries in Asia and the world are presented.

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Singapore

  1. Singapore has a very competitive economy. Thanks to a corruption-free business environment, pro-foreign investment and export-oriented policies, Singapore features a highly developed free-market economy. Furthermore, secure property rights effectively promoting productivity growth and entrepreneurship contribute to Singapore’s economic status as the second freest among 43 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the 2018 Index of Economic Freedom.
  2. Singapore is a parliamentary representative democratic republic. As such, its stable political climate is based on rationality and the rule of law. According to the founding father of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, his city-state seeks to offer first world conditions in a third world region.
  3. The country has an advanced education system. Singapore prides its education system for instilling students with a high standard of learning. The average number of years spent in the education system is 11.3 for males and 10.4 for females. Singapore’s three local universities: National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University and Singapore Management University are globally renowned. According to the 2018 Financial Times “Top 100 Global MBA,” they rank among the Top 50 International Business Schools.
  4. While Singapore has some of the strictest laws of nations worldwide, including capital punishment for drug possession and harsh penalties for disorderly conduct, the outcome has been a country with some of the lowest crime rates in the world. In Mercer’s personal safety ranking, Singapore placed first in Asia and eighth globally.
  5. Renowned for its technological advancements in medicine and practiced doctors, Singapore offers affordable health care and subsidized medical services through its public-private partnership in the health care system. The density of physicians to the population is 1.83 in 1,000 people. In 2010, in the World Health Organization’s ranking on the World’s 100 Best Health Systems, Singapore ranked sixth.
  6. Another positive product from Singapore’s abundance of stern laws is that the city is remarkably clean. With bans placed on public smoking and minimal traffic congestion, Singapore has maintained “good” to “moderate” range of air quality for much of 2017, according to the National Environmental Agency.
  7. For shopping lovers, Singapore is close to a dream come true. It is full of malls and department stores, carrying everything from the latest gadgets to popular clothing brands. Aside from dining and shopping, Singapore also offers a vibrant nightlife along with seasonal festivals and concerts.
  8. Singapore’s cultural network is composed of a unique array of multiple groups from Malays to Chinese and from Indians to expats from various countries. The city-state places a strong emphasis on community and racial harmony.
  9. The country has a very stable climate. Singapore’s climate resembles that of a tropical rainforest – it’s generally hot and humid year-round with prolonged periods of rain showers. The annual average high is 89 degrees Fahrenheit, and its annual total precipitation equates to 166 days of rainfall. The upside is that based on its geographical location, Singapore is generally safe from natural disasters.
  10. Singapore’s public transportation system consists of highly advanced modes of transit, including taxis, buses and the Mass Rapid Transport (MTR) rail system. Taxis and buses are also affordable, costing as little as $0.70 per trip.

As illustrated by this list of the top 10 facts about living conditions in Singapore, that despite its strict laws and seasonal hot and humid climate, the Asian city-state vaunts numerous desirable merits.

With a diverse friendly culture, progressive political system and safe environment in addition to a multiplicity of other positive influential factors, Singapore rightfully earns its name as one of the top cities in Asia for a high quality of living.

– Johnna Bollesen

Photo: Flickr