Socio-Economic Report: Myanmar Living Conditions Survey
About the report
The Socio-economic Report is the third and final report in a series of analytical reports based on the 2017 Myanmar Living Conditions Survey (MLCS). It is preceded by the Key Indicators Report, which looked at living conditions over time, and the Poverty Report, which provided updated estimates of poverty in Myanmar.
The current report explores both monetary and non-monetary poverty and welfare in greater detail. In particular, the report looks closely at differences across consumption quintiles in order to provide a more nuanced picture of welfare in Myanmar. It also identifies significant correlates of poverty in its many dimensions.
The 2017 MLCS was conducted from December 2016 to December 2017 and is representative of the Union, urban and rural areas, states/regions, and the Union Territory.
The poor face greater barriers to continuing education compared to the non-poor.
Child enrollment in primary school is nearly universal in both urban and rural areas, but transition to middle and high school is low, especially in rural areas.
Household finances and educational costs are the main reasons for dropout, particularly for poor children, who are on average twice as likely as non-poor children to leave schooling.
Limited access to secondary schools, especially high schools, has contributed to large requisite costs to attend high school, which many of the poor and even non-poor have difficulty financing.
Access to comprehensive healthcare and other basic services is limited in rural areas, where 87 percent of the poor reside.
The poor are significantly less likely than the non-poor to live near a public or private hospital. Although health centers have filled in some of the gaps in healthcare provision, the services available at these facilities are largely restricted to primary care.
Access to improved sources of drinking water, sanitation facilities, and clean sources of energy are relatively limited among the poor. Poor households also face greater barriers in connecting to the public grid due to issues of both affordability and accessibility.
Usage of formal financial services is generally low across Myanmar, but particularly among poor households.
Despite reasonable physical access to formal financial institutions, less than a fifth of households have a bank account, and while borrowing activity is high, most loans are taken from informal sources. Account ownership and formal sector borrowing are particularly low among poor households.
Lower welfare is associated with a lower likelihood of having the liquidity or savings to cope with negative income shocks. Instead, many poor and vulnerable households resort to loans, which are overwhelmingly from informal sources.
Agriculture and allied activities remain the primary source of employment and income for most of the population, especially the poor, but are associated with low productivity and returns.
More than half of the employed labor force work in agriculture and 64 percent of households earn income from agricultural activities. The poor are significantly more likely than the non-poor to be engaged in agriculture.
Compared to non-agricultural activities, agricultural activities – particularly wage labor in agriculture – are associated with lower returns: On average, earnings from agricultural activities account for just 22 percent of total household income.
Agricultural productivity in Myanmar is low compared to other countries in the region, and a lack of technology such as irrigation, fertilizer, and machinery is strongly correlated with low crop yields.
Geographical variation in per capita income can largely be attributed to differences in engagement in, and income from non-farm businesses and non-agricultural labor.
Seasonal labor and gender roles have resulted in sizable labor underutilization within the working-age population.
Seasonal and casual labor, primarily in the agricultural sector, has contributed to substantial time-related underemployment, particularly among the poor. While some have relied on migration to find temporary, mostly unskilled work elsewhere, others continue to struggle with unmet employment demands.
Women are 30 percent less likely than men to be in the labor force, and housework and child care present significant barriers for female labor force participation. Many women out of the labor force desire work but face limitations in availability or ability to search for a job.