The World Bank Atlas 1985, released in February, contains data on gross national product and population, and, for the first time, indicators of the quality of life in 189 countries or territories. The major change evident from this year’s Atlas is the increase in life expectancy in developing countries over the last two decades, from 45 in 1960 to 60 years in 1982. The Atlas also surveys other critical economic indicators. Information on various aspects of these indicators—for example, their growth rates and distribution among different groups of countries—is provided in tables, maps, and charts designed to enhance understanding of the state of development of individual countries and groups of countries. The accompanying map and charts are a selection from the Atlas, copies of which can be obtained from the Bank.
During 1973-82 for a group of countries with a combined population of 1.3 billion, GNP per capita grew at the rate of 4 percent or more a year; for a second group with a total of 800 million persons, the growth rate was 2-4 percent a year; and a third group comprising some 1.4 billion people showed an increase of less than 2 percent a year. A quarter billion people, most of them living in African countries, witnessed an actual decline in their GNP per capita during 1973-82.
Improvements in basic health and education services have, on average, increased life expectancy dramatically for the developing world as a whole. Infant mortality, however, remains high, caused mainly by unsanitary living conditions, impure drinking water, and other factors.
Primary education is much more widely available today than it was 20 years ago, especially for girls. About 96 percent of school-age children in the developing world are enrolled now, up from 80 percent in 1960. Total school enrollment doubled, from about 240 million to almost 500 million, over the same period.
The World Bank Atlas 1985 (32 pages) is available at $3.50 a copy from World Bank Publications, P.O. Box 37525, Washington, DC 20013 USA or from distributors listed in the Bank’s Catalog of Publications. Discounts are provided for quantities of 200 or more copies; please write for information.