The Human Development Index (commonly abbreviated HDI) is a summary of human development around the world and implies whether a country is developed, still developing, or underdeveloped. Human Development Index also shows how appealing and attractive a country is as a place to live. It is measured based on factors such as life expectancy, education, literacy, gross domestic product per capita. The results of the HDI are published in the Human Development Report, which is commissioned by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and is written by scholars, those who study world development and members of the Human Development Report Office of the UNDP.
Today, the HDI examines three basic dimensions to measure a country’s growth and achievements in human development.
– The first of these is health for the country’s people. This is measured by life expectancy at birth and those with higher life expectancies rank higher than those with lower life expectancies.
– The second dimension measured in the HDI is a country’s overall knowledge level as measured by the adult literacy rate combined with the gross enrollment ratios of students in primary school through the university level.
– The third and final dimension in the HDI is a country’s standard of living. Those with higher standards of living rank higher than those with lower standards of living. This dimension is measured with the gross national income (GNI) per capita adjusted to purchasing power parity standard (PPP).
The UNDP classifies each country into one of three development bins:
– Low human development for HDI scores between 0.0 and 0.5,
– Medium human development for HDI scores between 0.5 and 0.8
– High human development for HDI scores between 0.8 and 1.0.
Limitations of the Human Development Index
– The HDI notably fails to take account of qualitative factors, such as cultural identity and political freedoms (human security, gender opportunities and human rights for example).
– Many argue that the HDI should become more human-centred and expanded to include more dimensions, ranging from gender equity to environmental biodiversity
– The GNP/GNI per capita figure – and consequently the HDI figure – takes no account of income distribution. If income is unevenly distributed, then GNP/GNI per capita will be an inaccurate measure of the monetary well-being of the people. Inequitable development is not human development.
– PPP values change very quickly and are likely to be inaccurate or misleading.
The 2010 edition of the Human Development Report marked the launch of a new Inequality-adjusted HDI and also a Gender Inequality Index and a Multidimensional Poverty Index.
Human Development Index (HDI) – 2012 Rankings
|High Human Development||Medium Human Development||Low Human Development|
The HDI rankings featured above were published in the 2013 Human Development Report: The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World.