Human Development Index

The Human Development Index (HDI) is a measure of economic development and economic welfare.

The HDI examines three important criteria of economic development: Life expectancy, Education and Income levels. It uses this to create an overall score between 0 and 1. The closer to 1 the score is, the higher level of human development.

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) – Levels of wealth within the country as measure of GDP per capita and adjusted in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP).

HDI_EN


Limitations of the 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 GDI may not necessarily increase economic welfare, it depends how it is spent.
  • Also higher GDI per capita may hide widespread inequality within a country. Some countries with higher real GDI per capita have high levels of inequality (e.g. Russia, Saudi Arabia)
  • However, HDI can highlight countries with similar GDI 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.

Benefits of the Human Development Index

  • There is widespread use of HDI to compare development levels and it does reveal clear global patterns.
  • Does not solely concentrate on economic development, and takes into consideration that there are other, more social, ways to measure human development.
  • Increase in education and health shows an improvement in a countries infrastructure.

Examples:

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.

Sources:

http://www.economicshelp.org/blog/glossary/human-development-index/

https://danielwinsburysociology.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/how-is-development-measured-positives-and-negatives-of-the-human-development-index-hdi/

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