Human Development Index (HDI)

By | November 28, 2020

What is human development?

In 1990 the first Human Development Report introduced a new approach for advancing human wellbeing. Human development – or the human development approach – is about expanding the richness of human life, rather than simply the richness of the economy in which human beings live. It is an approach that is focused on people and their opportunities and choices.

People:

 Human development focuses on improving the lives people lead rather than assuming that economic growth will lead, automatically, to greater wellbeing for all. Income growth is seen as a means to development, rather than an end in itself.

Opportunities:

 Human development is about giving people more freedom to live lives they value. In effect, this means developing people’s abilities and giving them a chance to use them. For example, educating a girl would build her skills, but it is of little use if she is denied access to jobs, or does not have the right skills for the local labour market. Three foundations for human development are to live a long, healthy, and creative life, to be knowledgeable, and to have access to resources needed for a decent standard of living. Many other things are important too, especially in helping to create the right conditions for human development, and some of these are in the table below. Once the basics of human development are achieved, they open up opportunities for progress in other aspects of life.

Choice:

 Human development is, fundamentally, about more choice. It is about providing people with opportunities, not insisting that they make use of them. No one can guarantee human happiness, and the choices people make are their own concern. The process of development – human development – should at least create an environment for people, individually and collectively, to develop to their full potential and to have a reasonable chance of leading productive and creative lives that they value.

Human Development Index (HDI)

The HDI was created to emphasize that people and their capabilities should be the ultimate criteria for assessing the development of a country, not economic growth alone. The HDI can also be used to question national policy choices, asking how two countries with the same level of GNI per capita can end up with different human development outcomes.

The health dimension is assessed by life expectancy at birth, the education dimension is measured by mean of years of schooling for adults aged 25 years and more and expected years of schooling for children of school entering age. The standard of living dimension is measured by gross national income per capita. The HDI uses the logarithm of income, to reflect the diminishing importance of income with increasing GNI.

The HDI simplifies and captures only part of what human development entails. It does not reflect on inequalities, poverty, human security, empowerment, etc. The HDRO offers the other composite indices as broader proxy on some of the key issues of human development, inequality, gender disparity and poverty.

A fuller picture of a country’s level of human development requires analysis of other indicators and information presented in the statistical annex of the report.

Human Development Index (HDI) Report India.

India was ranked 129 out of 189 countries on the 2019 Human Development Index (HDI) improving from the 130th position in 2018.

India’s neighbours:

Sri Lanka (71) and China (85),

Bhutan (134), Bangladesh (135), Myanmar (145), Nepal (147), Pakistan (152), and Afghanistan (170)

  • HDI is part of the Human Development Report that is published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  • The other indices that form part of the 2019 Report are:
    • Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI),
    • Gender Development Index (GDI),
    • Gender Inequality Index (GII) and
    • Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI).

HDI measures the average achievement of a country in three basic dimensions of human development:

  1. A long and healthy life.
  2. Access to knowledge.
  3. A decent standard of living.

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