Human development index

The Human Development Index (HDI) 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 does not indicate welfare. GNI may not necessarily increase economic welfare; it depends on how it is spent. For example, if a country spends more on military spending – this is reflected in higher GNI, but welfare could actually be lower.
  • 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 birthMean years of schoolingExpected years of schooling(GNI) per capita
HDI rankValue(years)(years)(years)(Constant 2005 PPP$)
201120112011a2011a2011
1Norway0.94381.112.617.347,557
2Australia0.92981.912.018.034,431
3Netherlands0.91080.711.6b16.836,402
4United States0.91078.512.416.043,017
5New Zealand0.90880.712.518.023,737
6Canada0.90881.012.1b16.035,166
7Ireland0.90880.611.618.029,322
8Liechtenstein0.90579.610.3c14.783,717
9Germany0.90580.412.2b15.934,854
10Sweden0.90481.411.7b15.735,837

 

Lowest 10 Counties for HDI

(HDI)Life expectancy at birthMean years of schoolingExpected years of schooling(GNI) per capita
177Eritrea0.34961.63.44.8536
178Guinea0.34454.11.6w8.6863
179Central African Republic0.34348.43.56.6707
180Sierra Leone0.33647.82.97.2737
181Burkina Faso0.33155.41.3r6.31,141
182Liberia0.32956.83.911.0265
183Chad0.32849.61.5i7.21,105
184Mozambique0.32250.21.29.2898
185Burundi0.31650.42.710.5368
186Niger0.29554.71.44.9641
187Congo (Democratic Republic of the)0.28648.43.58.2280

 

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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