Social protection

In Asia, the share of people not covered by any type of social protection programs ranges from 50 to 90% of national populations. These are the so-called “missing middle” that work in the informal economy, and belong neither to the poorest of the poor who may receive social assistance, nor to those employed in the formal sector who are covered by social insurance.

Recent studies indicate that total public social expenditure as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) in Asia ranges between 1.2% in Indonesia and 13.2% in Mongolia, with the regional average at 5.2% if we include developed economies.

Roughly about three-quarters of total social protection expenditure in Asia is devoted to social insurance with the bulk

allocated to pensions for formal sector workers. The wide range of spending rates reflects the diverse social and

economic histories of the countries in the region. —