What is human development index? Describe the factors determining human development

The Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite statistic introduced by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to measure and compare the average achievements in key dimensions of human development across countries.

The HDI provides a more comprehensive assessment of well-being than purely economic indicators, such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP), by incorporating social and health factors. The HDI is calculated based on three key dimensions, each represented by specific indicators:

  1. Health (Life Expectancy at Birth):
  • The first dimension of the HDI is health, measured by life expectancy at birth. This indicator reflects the average number of years a newborn is expected to live, providing insights into the overall health and longevity of the population. A higher life expectancy contributes positively to the HDI.
  1. Education (Mean and Expected Years of Schooling):
  • The education dimension of the HDI is assessed through two indicators: mean years of schooling for adults aged 25 years and older, and expected years of schooling for children entering school. Mean years of schooling represent the average number of years of education received by people in this age group, while expected years of schooling indicate the number of years a child entering school is expected to complete. Higher levels of education contribute positively to the HDI.
  1. Standard of Living (Gross National Income per Capita, Adjusted for Purchasing Power Parity):
  • The standard of living dimension is measured by the Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP). This indicator takes into account the relative cost of living and inflation rates across countries. GNI per capita reflects the average income of citizens in a country. A higher GNI per capita contributes positively to the HDI.

Factors determining human development and contributing to the HDI include:

  1. Access to Education:
  • The level of education in a society is a critical factor in human development. Access to quality education, along with factors such as literacy rates and enrollment in primary, secondary, and tertiary education, significantly influences a country’s HDI.
  1. Healthcare and Life Expectancy:
  • Access to healthcare services, disease prevention, and overall healthcare infrastructure contribute to life expectancy. Improved healthcare systems, sanitation, and disease control positively impact the health dimension of the HDI.
  1. Income and Economic Opportunities:
  • Economic factors, such as income levels and economic opportunities, play a crucial role in human development. A higher income provides individuals with the resources to meet their basic needs and pursue a better quality of life.
  1. Gender Equality:
  • Gender equality is an essential factor in human development. Societies that ensure equal opportunities and rights for both men and women are likely to have higher levels of education, better health outcomes, and increased economic participation, positively influencing the HDI.
  1. Political Stability and Rule of Law:
  • Political stability, effective governance, and the rule of law contribute to an environment that fosters human development. Societies with stable political systems are better positioned to invest in education, healthcare, and economic development, ultimately affecting the HDI.
  1. Access to Basic Services:
  • Access to basic services such as clean water, sanitation, and electricity significantly influences human development. Adequate infrastructure and services contribute to improved health and overall well-being.
  1. Social Inclusion and Reduction of Inequalities:
  • Human development is enhanced when societies actively work to reduce inequalities and promote social inclusion. Policies that address disparities in education, healthcare, and income contribute to a more equitable distribution of opportunities and resources, positively impacting the HDI.

The HDI provides a comprehensive and comparative measure of human development, helping policymakers and researchers assess the well-being of populations across countries and track progress over time. It reflects the multidimensional nature of development by considering factors beyond economic indicators alone.

Scroll to Top