Human development index

The Human Development index is a measure of economic development and economic welfare. The Human Development Index examines three important criteria of economic development (life expectancy, education and income levels) and uses this to create an overall score between 0 and 1.

1 indicates a high level of economic development, 0 a very low level.

The HDI combines:

  1. Life Expectancy Index. Average life expectancy compared to a global expected life expectancy..
  2. Education Index
    1. mean years of schooling
    2. expected years of schooling
  3. Income Index (GNI at PPP)

Components of the Human Development Index

HDI_EN

 

What the HDI shows.

  • The HDI give an overall index of economic development. It has some limitations and excludes several factors that might have been included, but it does give a rough ability to make comparisons on issues of economic welfare – much more than just using GDP statistics show.

Limitations of Human Development Index

  • Wide divergence within countries. For example, countries like China and Kenya have widely different HDI scores depending on the region in question. (e.g. north China poorer than south east)
  • HDI reflect long-term changes (e.g. life expectancy) and may not respond to recent short-term changes.
  • Higher National wealth GNI may not necessarily increase economic welfare, it depends how it is spent.
  • Also higher GNI per capita may hide widespread inequality within a country. Some countries with higher real GNI per capita have high levels of inequality (e.g. Russia, Saudi Arabia)
  • However, HDI can highlight countries with similar GNI per capita but different levels of economic development.
  • Economic welfare depends on several other factors, such as – threat of war, levels of pollution, access to clean drinking water e.t.c.

 

Top 10 Human Development Index

hdi-top10

Components of HDI score 2011

(HDI)  Life expectancy at birth Mean years of schooling Expected years of schooling (GNI) per capita
HDI rank Value (years) (years) (years) (Constant 2005 PPP$)
2011 2011 2011a 2011a 2011
1 Norway 0.943 81.1 12.6 17.3 47,557
2 Australia 0.929 81.9 12.0 18.0 34,431
3 Netherlands 0.910 80.7 11.6 b 16.8 36,402
4 United States 0.910 78.5 12.4 16.0 43,017
5 New Zealand 0.908 80.7 12.5 18.0 23,737
6 Canada 0.908 81.0 12.1 b 16.0 35,166
7 Ireland 0.908 80.6 11.6 18.0 29,322
8 Liechtenstein 0.905 79.6 10.3 c 14.7 83,717
9 Germany 0.905 80.4 12.2 b 15.9 34,854
10 Sweden 0.904 81.4 11.7 b 15.7 35,837

 

Lowest 10 Counties for HDI

 

(HDI) Life expectancy at birth Mean years of schooling Expected years of schooling (GNI) per capita
177 Eritrea 0.349 61.6 3.4 4.8 536
178 Guinea 0.344 54.1 1.6 w 8.6 863
179 Central African Republic 0.343 48.4 3.5 6.6 707
180 Sierra Leone 0.336 47.8 2.9 7.2 737
181 Burkina Faso 0.331 55.4 1.3 r 6.3 1,141
182 Liberia 0.329 56.8 3.9 11.0 265
183 Chad 0.328 49.6 1.5 i 7.2 1,105
184 Mozambique 0.322 50.2 1.2 9.2 898
185 Burundi 0.316 50.4 2.7 10.5 368
186 Niger 0.295 54.7 1.4 4.9 641
187 Congo (Democratic Republic of the) 0.286 48.4 3.5 8.2 280

 

Notes:

Before 2011, the human development index used adult literacy rates rather than mean years of schooling.

The human development index was created by Mahbub ul Haq, and Amartya Sen.

 

  • HDI at United Nations

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