I came across an interesting article on the Bhutan Broadcasting Service website and reproducing it here for posterity.
Reproduced from this BBS article:
23% Bhutanese live below national poverty line
January 16: About 23% of the Bhutanese population live below the national poverty line of about Nu 1,100 per person per month. This is according to the Bhutan Living Standard Survey (BLSS) which was conducted by the National Statistics Bureau (NSB) from March to May, 2007.
Poverty in urban areas at 1.7% is significantly lower than in rural areas, which is estimated at around 31%.
Poverty rates are found to be high in Zhemgang, Samtse, Monggar, Lhuentse, and Samdrup Jongkhar.
The poverty line, the minimum acceptable standard of per capita consumption needed to assure a minimum standard of living, was obtained using the Cost of Basic Needs approach, a commonly used methodology in many countries for constructing the poverty line.
56% Bhutanese literate
In education, the overall literacy rate is estimated at 56%.
Thimphu has the highest literacy rate at 72% while Gasa has the least at 40%.
The net enrolment rate in primary schools is estimated at 82%, but the enrollment rates at the secondary level are much lower with 23% in lower secondary schools, 19% in middle secondary schools, and 11% in higher secondary levels.
60% of the people in rural areas and 32% of the people in urban areas have never attended formal schooling.
Unemployment high among 15 to 24 years
The country’s unemployment rate is estimated at 3.7%.
The survey says high unemployment rates are prominent in the age group 15 to 24 years, especially in urban areas.
Among the estimated 274,000 employed persons in Bhutan, two-thirds are employed in the agriculture sector, three out of twenty work in industry, three out of twenty work in the services sector, and one out of forty works in other enterprises.
Only 45% rural women deliver in hospitals
In urban areas, 80% of women who give birth over a period of one year before the survey began delivered in hospitals or clinics.
But in rural areas only 45% delivered in hospitals or clinics. More than 70% of all women who gave birth during the same period are below 35 years.
Teenage pregnancy is twice as common in rural areas as in urban areas. Utilization of contraceptives is particularly low among teenagers.
Average household consumption in urban areas 1.9 times to that of rural
The average monthly household consumption expenditure is estimated at Nu 13,823 while average per capita consumption expenditure was found to be Nu 2,755 per person per month.
The average household consumption expenditure in urban areas is 1.9 times that of rural areas. The average household consumption in the top 20% at Nu 25,181 was more than four times that of the average household consumption of the bottom 20 percent which is estimated at Nu 5,704.
Only 56% of rural areas have electricity
About two-thirds of households in the country own dwellings. In urban areas, only one in five households has their own house.
Across the country, nine in ten persons have access to improved water source while more than nine in ten persons have access to improved sanitation.
Practically two-thirds of the households have access to electricity.
In urban areas 97% of the population has access to electricity while in rural areas only 56% have access to electricity.
Respondents from rural areas suggested that road infrastructure and bridges, electrification, and water supply should be the priority concerns for improving their welfare.
Urban households consider land and resettlement, labour and employment creation, and housing as priority concerns.