Human Development Index
The Human Development Index (HDI) is the normalized measure of Life expectancy, Literacy, Education, standard of living, and GDP per capita. It is a Composite indicator commonly used to measure well-being within a country, especially child welfare. It is furthermore used to classify a country as developed, developing, or underdeveloped.
The index was developed in 1990 by Indian Nobel prize winner Amartya Sen and Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq, with help from Gustav Ranis of Yale University and Lord Meghnad Desai of the London School of Economics and has been used since by the United Nations Development Program in its annual Human Development Report. Described by Sen as a “vulgar measure”, because of its limitations, it nonetheless captures wider aspects of development than pure income measures such as GDP per capita.
What does the HDI measure?
The HDI measures the average achievements in a country in three basic dimensions of human development:
- A long and healthy life, as measured by Life expectancy at birth.
- Knowledge and education, as measured by the adult Literacy rate (with two-thirds weighting) and the combined primary, secondary, and tertiary Gross enrollment ratio (with one-third weighting).
- A decent standard of living, as measured by the log of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita at purchasing power parity (PPP) in US$.
Each year, UN member states are listed and ranked according to these measures. An alternative measure, focusing on the amount of poverty in a country, is the Human Poverty Index.