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Human Development Index

The Human Development Index (HDI) is the measure of life expectancy, literacy, education, and standard of living for countries worldwide. It is a standard means of measuring well-being, especially child welfare. It is used to determine and indicate whether a country is a developed, developing, or underdeveloped country and also to measure the impact of economic policies on quality of life.

HD or Human Development where Humans are ends not means. Also incomes are means not end, so HDI puts human at the centre, not incomes.

The index was developed in 1990 by Indian Nobel prize winner Amartya Sen, 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 then by the United Nations Development Programme in its annual Human Development Report.  1990 also marks the first year HDI was published.

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, 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 USD.

The Human Development Report usually presents two types of statistical information: statistics in the human development indicator tables, which provide a global assessment of country achievements in different areas of human development, and statistical evidence in the thematic analysis in the chapters, which may be based on international, national or sub-national data.

Updated On: 07.11.03