Human Development Index

February 18, 2013, 3:25 pm
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Introduction

The Human Development Index (HDI) is a summary measure of human development that is published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The HDI provides an alternative to the common practice of evaluating a country’s progress in development based on per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The HDI is the signature trademark of the Human Development Report (HDR), an independent report commissioned by the UNDP that is written by a team of scholars, development practitioners and members of the Human Development Report Office of UNDP. The HDI has had a significant impact on drawing the attention of governments, corporations and international organizations to aspects of development that focus on the expansion of choices and freedoms, not just income.

The HDI measures the average achievements in a country in three basic dimensions of human development:

  • A long and healthy life, as measured by life expectancy at birth.
  • Knowledge, as measured by the adult literacy rate (with two-thirds weight) and the combined primary, secondary and tertiary gross enrollment ratio (with one-third weight).
  • A decent standard of living, as measured by GDP per capita in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms in US dollars.

Before the HDI itself is calculated, an index is created for each of these dimensions. To calculate these indices—the life expectancy, education and GDP indices—minimum and maximum values (goalposts) are chosen for each underlying indicator. For example, in 2004 the maximum and minimum values for life expectancy were 85 and 25 years, respectively. Performance in each dimension is expressed as a value between 0 and 1. The HDI is then calculated as a simple average of the dimension indices:

HDI = 1/3 (life expectancy index) + 1/3 (education index)+ 1/3 (GDP index)

The HDI for 2004

The following table shows the HDI value for 2004. A higher value indicates a higher level of development as indicated by the HDI.

HDI Rank Country 2004 HDI RankCountry2004
1 Norway 0.965 90Fiji 0.758
2 Iceland 0.960 91Paraguay 0.757
3 Australia 0.957 92Turkey 0.757
4 Ireland 0.956 93Sri Lanka 0.755
5 Sweden 0.951 94Dominican Republic 0.751
6 Canada 0.950 95Belize 0.751
7 Japan 0.949 96Islamic Republic of Iran 0.746
8 United States 0.948 97Georgia 0.743
9 Switzerland 0.947 98Maldives 0.739
10 Netherlands 0.947 99Azerbaijan 0.736
11 Finland 0.947 100Occupied Palestinian Territories 0.736
12 Luxembourg 0.945 101El Salvador 0.729
13 Belgium 0.945 102Algeria 0.728
14 Austria 0.944 103Guyana 0.725
15 Denmark 0.943 104Jamaica 0.724
16 France 0.942 105Turkmenistan 0.724
17 Italy 0.940 106Cape Verde 0.722
18 United Kingdom 0.940 107Syrian Arab Republic 0.716
19 Spain 0.938 108Indonesia 0.711
20 New Zealand 0.936 109Viet Nam 0.709
21 Germany 0.932 110Kyrgyzstan 0.705
22 Hong Kong, China (SAR) 0.927 111Egypt 0.702
23 Israel 0.927 112Nicaragua 0.698
24 Greece 0.921 113Uzbekistan 0.696
25 Singapore 0.916 114Republic of Moldova 0.694
26 Republic of Korea 0.912 115Bolivia 0.692
27 Slovenia 0.910 116Mongolia 0.691
28 Portugal 0.904 117Honduras 0.683
29 Cyprus 0.903 118Guatemala 0.673
30 Czech Republic 0.885 119Vanuatu 0.670
31 Barbados 0.879 120Equatorial Guinea 0.653
32 Malta 0.875 121South Africa 0.653
33 Kuwait 0.871 122Tajikistan 0.652
34 Brunei Darussalam 0.871 123Morocco 0.640
35 Hungary 0.869 124Gabon 0.633
36 Argentina 0.863 125Namibia 0.626
37 Poland 0.862 126India 0.611
38 Chile 0.859 127São Tomé and Principe 0.607
39 Bahrain 0.859 128Solomon Islands 0.592
40 Estonia 0.858 129Cambodia 0.583
41 Lithuania 0.857 130Myanmar 0.581
42 Slovakia 0.856 131Botswana 0.570
43 Uruguay 0.851 132Comoros 0.556
44 Croatia 0.846 133Lao People's Democratic Republic 0.553
45 Latvia 0.845 134Pakistan 0.539
46 Qatar 0.844 135Bhutan 0.538
47 Seychelles 0.842 136Ghana 0.532
48 Costa Rica 0.841 137Bangladesh 0.530
49 United Arab Emirates 0.839 138Nepal 0.527
50 Cuba 0.826 139Papua New Guinea 0.523
51 Saint Kitts and Nevis 0.825 140Congo 0.520
52 Bahamas 0.825 141Sudan 0.516
53 Mexico 0.821 142Timor-Leste 0.512
54 Bulgaria 0.816 143Madagascar 0.509
55 Tonga 0.815 144Cameroon 0.506
56 Oman 0.810 145Uganda 0.502
57 Trinidad and Tobago 0.809 146Swaziland 0.500
58 Panama 0.809 147Togo 0.495
59 Antigua and Barbuda 0.808 148Djibouti 0.494
60 Romania 0.805 149Lesotho 0.494
61 Malaysia 0.805 150Yemen 0.492
62 Bosnia and Herzegovina 0.800 151Zimbabwe 0.491
63 Mauritius 0.800 152Kenya 0.491
64 Libyan Arab Jamahiriya 0.798 153Mauritania 0.486
65 Russian Federation 0.797 154Haiti 0.482
66 Macedonia, TFYR 0.796 155Gambia 0.479
67 Belarus 0.794 156Senegal 0.460
68 Dominica 0.793 157Eritrea 0.454
69 Brazil 0.792 158Rwanda 0.450
70 Colombia 0.790 159Nigeria 0.448
71 Saint Lucia 0.790 160Guinea 0.445
72 Venezuela, RB 0.784 161Angola 0.439
73 Albania 0.784 162United Republic of Tanzania 0.430
74 Thailand 0.784 163Benin 0.428
75 Samoa (Western) 0.778 164Côte d'Ivoire 0.421
76 Saudi Arabia 0.777 165Zambia 0.407
77 Ukraine 0.774 166Malawi 0.400
78 Lebanon 0.774 167Democratic Republic of the Congo 0.391
79 Kazakhstan 0.774 168Mozambique 0.390
80 Armenia 0.768 169Burundi 0.384
81 China 0.768 170Ethiopia 0.371
82 Peru 0.767 171Chad 0.368
83 Ecuador 0.765 172Central African Republic 0.353
84 Philippines 0.763 173Guinea-Bissau 0.349
85 Grenada 0.762 174Burkina Faso 0.342
86 Jordan 0.760 175Mali 0.338
87 Tunisia 0.760 176Sierra Leone 0.335
88 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 0.759 177Niger 0.311
89 Suriname 0.759

Background

The first Human Development Report (HDR) was published in 1990, under the leadership of Pakistani economist and finance minister Mahbub ul Haq and Indian Nobel Laureate for Economics Amartya Sen.

The principal motivation behind the HDR was, according to Sen, an overarching preoccupation with the growth of real income per capita as a measure of the well-being of a nation. Physical expansion of an economy, as measured by per capita GDP, does not necessarily mean that people are better off in the larger sense of the term: health, freedom, education, meaningful work and leisure time, for example. As stated in the inaugural 1990 HDR:

People are the real wealth of a nation. The basic objective of development is to create an enabling environment for people to enjoy long, healthy and creative lives. This may appear to be a simple truth. But it is often forgotten in the immediate concern with the accumulation of commodities and financial wealth.

Since the first Report in 1990, four new composite indices for human development have been developed — the Human Development Index, the Gender-related Development Index, the Gender Empowerment Measure, and the Human Poverty Index.

Further Reading

Glossary

Citation

Cleveland, C. (2013). Human Development Index. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/153587

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