SINGAPORE: Singapore may be the second-largest economy after Brunei in the Asia-Pacific region.
But when it comes to economic well-being, the Republic lags behind Hong Kong and Taiwan, according to a recent study by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) based on 2005 figures.
In a poll of 23 economies, the Republic was ranked third, at HK$99,706 ($19,262) per capita - behind Hong Kong (HK$125,303) and Taiwan (HK$109,108) - based on the "actual findings consumption of households" (AFCH).
An indicator of a population's state of economic well-being, the AFCH calculates what households actually consume, including what they buy and what they are supplied by their governments, such as healthcare and education.
Rounding up the list of top five cities in the survey are Brunei and Macau.
At the bottom, are Nepal, Bangladesh, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Upcoming powerhouses China and India came in 15th and 17th. respectively, even though together, they account for 64 per cent of the total real gross domestic product (GDP) of the respondents.
Singapore was found to be the fourth-costliest place to live in the region, based on the ratio of the purchasing power parities to the exchange rate.
Topping the list were the Fiji islands, Hong Kong and Macau, with Taiwan coming in fifth after Singapore.
The cheapest places were Laos, Vietnam, Iran, Cambodia and Nepal, the study reported.
Singapore also em-erged as the region's second-richest economy, in real GDP per capita terms.
The study estimated that it would take China almost 30 years to catch up with Brunei — the region's richest economy — based on an annual per capita growth rate of 9.2 per cent.
And India would need nearly 50 years to catch up with Brunei, if the former continues to grow at an annual per capita rate of 6.5 per cent.
This study — the International Comparison Programme for Asia-Pacific — was part of an international effort managed by the ADB to draw up a cross-country comparison of key macro-economic indicators across economies in the region.
Mr Francois Bourguignon, senior vice-president and chief economist at the World Bank, described this undertaking as "particularly important in our developing member countries, where reliable information base for poverty alleviation and economic development policies is badly needed". - TODAY/fa