The Irrawaddy

Wa State and Rakhine Aside, Survey Finds Living Conditions Improving Across the Country

Nay Pyi Taw—The Ministry of Planning and Finance was not able to conduct surveys in the Wa Self-Administered Division or northern Rakhine State while doing its Myanmar Living Conditions Survey 2017.

The ministry held a workshop in Nay Pyi Taw on Wednesday to publish key indicators from the draft report of the survey.

“We can say that the report covers the whole country except Wa State and northern Rakhine State. We were not able to conduct the survey in seven survey areas in Wa State and two townships in Rakhine. But we have expanded the coverage area in other places and it is fair to say that the report covers the whole country,” said Daw Khin Hset Yi, assistant director of the Central Statistics Organization and the leader of the survey team.

Though there are no ongoing armed conflicts in Wa State, the area is not under the executive jurisdiction of the Myanmar government. Meanwhile, northern Rakhine State is beset with sectarian strife.

The survey offers a comprehensive study of how people everywhere in Myanmar live. It collects data on the occupations of people, their income levels, and how they use this to meet the food, housing, health, education and other needs of their families. The data collected will be used to formulate responsive policies for the future development of the country.

“The survey covers education and health conditions of families. Consumption patterns and lifestyles have changed and living conditions have also improved, according to the survey,” Daw Khin Hset Yi said.

The survey, conducted from December 2016 to November 2017, is representative of the entire country and was based on input from nearly 30,000 people from over 13,000 households in all regions and states, she said. The final report is scheduled to be published by December.

According to the survey, motorcycles have largely replaced bicycles in Myanmar, while mobile phone density has also increased throughout the country since 2010. Phone ownership is now almost at the same level in rural areas as in urban areas.

“Looking at the possessions of households, the use of mobile phones and motorbikes has increased, which indicates an improvement in living conditions,” Daw Khin Hset Yi said.

The survey was conducted by the Central Statistics Organization with technical support from the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank.