Human Development Index

The Human Development Index (HDI) is a statistic composite index of life expectancy, education (mean years of schooling completed and expected years of schooling upon entering the education system), and per capita income indicators, which are used to rank countries into four tiers of human development. A country scores a higher level of HDI when the lifespan is higher, the education level is higher, and the gross national income GNI (PPP) per capita is higher. It was developed by Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq and was further used to measure a country's development by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)'s Human Development Report Office.[1][2][3]

World map representing Human Development Index categories (based on 2019 data, published in 2020).
  Very high (≥ 0.800)
  High (0.700–0.799)
  Medium (0.550–0.699)
  Low (≤ 0.549)
  Data unavailable
World map of countries by Human Development Index categories in increments of 0.050 (based on 2019 data, published in 2020).
  ≥ 0.900
  0.850–0.899
  0.800–0.849
  0.750–0.799
  0.700–0.749
  0.650–0.699
  0.600–0.649
  0.550–0.599
  0.500–0.549
  0.450–0.499
  0.400–0.449
  ≤ 0.399
  Data unavailable

The 2010 Human Development Report introduced an Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI). While the simple HDI remains useful, it stated that "the IHDI is the actual level of human development (accounting for inequality), while the HDI can be viewed as an index of 'potential' human development (or the maximum level of HDI) that could be achieved if there were no inequality."[4]

The index is based on the human development approach, developed by Mahbub ul Haq, anchored in Amartya Sen's work on human capabilities, often framed in terms of whether people are able to "be" and "do" desirable things in life. Examples include – being: well fed, sheltered, healthy; doing: work, education, voting, participating in community life. The freedom of choice is central – someone choosing to be hungry (e.g. when fasting for religious reasons) is quite different from someone who is hungry because they cannot afford to buy food, or because the country is in a famine.[5]

The index does not take into account several factors, such as the net wealth per capita or the relative quality of goods in a country. This situation tends to lower the ranking for some of the most advanced countries, such as the G7 members and others.[6]


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