Tag Archives: HDI

Human Development Report – 2018 – gaps reflect unequal opportunity

The Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite index focusing on three basic dimensions of human development:

  • the ability to lead a long and healthy life, measured by life expectancy at birth;
  • the ability to acquire knowledge, measured by mean years of schooling and expected years of schooling; and
  • the ability to achieve a decent standard of living, measured by gross national income per capita.

To measure human development more comprehensively, the Human Development Report presents four other composite indices.

  • The Inequality-adjusted HDI discounts the HDI according to the extent of inequality.
  • The Gender Development Index compares female and male HDI values.
  • The Gender Inequality Index highlights women’s empowerment.
  • And the Multidimensional Poverty Index measures non income dimensions of poverty.

The 2018 Update presents HDI values for 189 countries and territories with the most recent data for 2017. The main points are:

59 are in the very high human development group,
53 in the high,
39 in the medium
38 in the low.

In 2010, 49 countries were in the low human development group.

The top five countries in the global HDI ranking are:

Norway (0.953),
Switzerland (0.944),
Australia (0.939),
Ireland (0.938) and
Germany (0.936)

New Zealand comes in at 16 with 0.917

The bottom five are:
Burundi (0.417),
Chad (0.404),
South Sudan (0.388),
the Central African Republic (0.367)
Niger (0.354).

The largest increases in HDI rank between 2012 and 2017 were for Ireland, which moved up 13 places, and for Botswana, the Dominican Republic and Turkey, which each moved up 8. The largest declines were for the Syrian Arab Republic (down 27), Libya (26) and Yemen (20) .

Why is Inequality a problem for development?
A recent Oxfam International report showed that:

“8 men own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity”
“82 percent of all global wealth in the last year went to the top 1 percent, while the bottom half of humanity saw no increase at all”

Deep imbalances in people’s opportunities and choices stem from inequalities in:
income  – education – health  – voice – access to technology – exposure to shocks.

Human development gaps reflect unequal opportunity in access to education, health, employment, credit and natural resources due to gender, group identity, income disparities and location. Inequality is not only normatively wrong; it is also dangerous as:

  • It can fuel extremism and undermine support for inclusive and sustainable development.
  • It can lead to adverse consequences for social cohesion and the quality of institutions and policies, which in turn can slow human development progress.

The global level inequality in income contributes the most to overall inequality, followed by education and life expectancy. Countries in the very high human development group lose less from inequality than countries in lower groups

Source: Human Development Indices and Indicators 2018 – Statistical Update

HDI v HPI

Just covering Human Development Index and Human Poverty Index with my A2 class and I am came across this useful graphic explaining both.
HDI v HPI

A HDI below 0.5 is considered to represent “low development”. All 22 countries in that category are located in Africa. The highest-scoring Sub-Saharan countries, Gabon and South Africa, are ranked 119th and 121st, respectively. Nine countries departed from this category this year and joined the “medium development” group.

A HDI of 0.8 or more is considered to represent “high development”. This includes all developed countries, such as those in North America, Western Europe, Oceania, and Eastern Asia, as well as some developing countries in Eastern Europe, Central and South America, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, and the oil-rich Arabian Peninsula. Seven countries were promoted to this category this year, leaving the “medium development” group: Albania, Belarus, Brazil, Libya, Macedonia, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Corruption and Development. NZ least corrupt

Below is a chart from The Economist that looks at the correlation between the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) and the Human Development Index (HDI). Remember that the HDI is part of Unit 5 of the Cambridge A2 course.

The Human Development Index (HDI) has been published by the United Nations each year since 1990. The report contains information on economic and social development for every country in the world. However it is important to note that countries with similar ranking HDI values do not always match its ranking in terms of Real GDP per capita. The table below shows 2007 rankings using the HDI method.

The HDI is the average of three indices based on three different variables:

1. Life expectancy at birth
2. Education – a weighted average of adult literacy (two-thirds) and average years of schooling (one third)
3. Real GNP per capita – measured in US dollars, at purchasing power parity* (PPP) exchange rates.

*Purchasing power parity (PPP) is when an amount of money in one country can be exchanged for a quantity of foreign currency, and the two amounts will buy identical baskets of products in both countries.

The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) ranks countries/territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be. It is a composite index, a combination of polls, drawing on corruption-related data collected by a variety of reputable institutions. The CPI reflects the views of observers from around the world, including experts living and working in the countries/territories evaluated.

The chart below shows that after a value of 4 on the x axis there is a much stronger correlation between the CPI and the HDI. Interesting to see New Zealand as perceived as the least corrupt country and also in the top 5 of the HDI. There are countries that go against the trend – Greece, Italy are seen as more corrupt but have a higher HDI. Also poorer countries that have less corruption than their counterparts include Bhutan and Cape Verde.

HDI – Measuring standard of living

The Human Development Index (HDI) has been published by the United Nations each year since 1990. The report contains information on economic and social development for every country in the world. However it is important to note that countries with similar ranking HDI values do not always match its ranking in terms of Real GDP per capita. The table below from The Economist shows 2011 rankings – in brackets – using the HDI method.

The HDI is the average of three indices based on three different variables:
1. Life expectancy at birth
2. Education – a weighted average of adult literacy (two-thirds) and average years of schooling (one third)
3. Real GNP per capita – measured in US dollars, at purchasing power parity* (PPP) exchange rates.

Growth – a means or an end?

The United Nations measure the development of countries using the Human Development Index. As you maybe aware this consists of three variables:
1. per-capita income,
2. life expectancy and
3. literacy rates.

This index is then used to rank countries by how “developed” they are – 169 countries were ranked in 2010. Below is the top and bottom country.
1. Norway
169. Zimbabwe

The latest Human Development Report identified that in particularly less developed countries there is a poor correlation between economic growth and improvements in health and education The graph below shows that where income has increased the impact on non-income variables (literacy and life expectancy) has been minimal. Source: New York Times – Relationship between economic growth and the non-income components of the Human Development Index, 1970–2010.

Here’s one example (from the New York Times) of economic growth not translating to development as expected.

Take a revealing comparison between China — the world’s fastest growing economy in the past 30 years — and Tunisia. In 1970 a baby girl born in Tunisia could expect to live 55 years; one born in China, 63 years. Since then, China’s per capita GDP has grown at a breakneck pace of 8 percent annually, while Tunisia’s has grown at 3 percent. But a girl born today in Tunisia can expect to live 76 years, a year longer than a girl born in China. And while only 52 percent of Tunisian children were enrolled in school in 1970, today’s gross enrollment ratio is 78 percent, considerably higher than China’s 68 percent.

It seems that there is little correlation between improvements in national income and improvements in education and health.