The Human Development Index (HDI) is a summary composite index which is used to rank countries by level of "human development" and separate developed (high development), developing (middle development), and underdeveloped (low development) countries. The HDI sets a standard means of measuring human development and sets levels of options of person for personal achievement. The statistic data is composed of three basic aspects of human development: longevity, knowledge, and a decent standard of living.
The Human Development Index is originated the United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) Human Development Reports (HDRs). It was created as an alternative to the common practice to rank human development solely on a country’s gross domestic product. It measures a country's average achievements.
The HDI is first published under Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq and Indian Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen in 1990. The main goal of HDI was to accurately measure whether people are better off in terms of health, freedom, education and other aspects of life not measured by gross GDP. Originators of HDI stated, “People are the real wealth of a nation. The basic objective of development is to create an enabling environment for people to enjoy long, healthy and creative lives. This may appear to be a simple truth. But it is often forgotten in the immediate concern with the accumulation of commodities and financial wealth.”
The HDI is composed of three dimensions:
- Life expectancy at birth, as an index of population health and longevity
- 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)
- Standard of living, as signified by the natural logarithm of gross domestic product per capita at purchasing power parity
The HDI is generally calculated by formula which generally transform a raw variable, say x, into a unit-free index between 0 and 1. The Human Development Index (HDI) represents the uniformly weighted sum with ⅓ contributed by the factor including Life expectancy index, Education index, Adult literacy index, Gross enrollment index, and GDP.
As a standard means of measuring well-being, HDI is used to measure the impact of economic policies on quality of life and also to distinguish whether the country is a developed, a developing or an under-developed country.
Depending on their HDI, countries fall into four broad categories:
- Very high human development
- High human development
- Medium human development
- Low human development
The first category is referred to as developed countries and the last three are all grouped in developing countries.
Top ten developed countries according to 2007 data:
- Iceland 0.968
- Norway 0.968
- Australia 0.962
- Canada 0.961
- Ireland 0.959
- Sweden 0.956
- Switzerland 0.955
- Japan 0.953
- Netherlands 0.953
- France 0.952
Top ten developed countries according to 2009 statistical update:
- Norway 0.971
- Australia 0.970
- Iceland 0.969
- Canada 0.966
- Ireland 0.965
- Netherlands 0.964
- Sweden 0.963
- France 0.961
- Switzerland 0.960
- Japan 0.960
Top ten developed countries according to recent data:
- Norway: 0.963
- Iceland: 0.956
- Australia: 0.955
- Canada: 0.949
- Luxembourg: 0.949
- Sweden: 0.949
- Switzerland: 0.947
- Ireland: 0.946
- Belgium: 0.945
- United States: 0.944
From each year human development index, Canada has been ranked the highest eight times followed by Norway at seven times. Japan has been ranked highest three times and Iceland has been ranked twice.
Norway, Iceland, and Australia are considered the three most developed countries in the world as per more recent data. The United States was seen to be the 10th most developed nation. Niger is considered the least developed nation of the 178 studied. Many nations do not cooperate with the study and are so they are not listed.
According to the more recent data, the least developed country include Niger, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad, Guinea-Bissau, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Burundi, Mozambique, Congo and Zambia. All of these countries have HDI below 4.
Check out recent Human Development Index (HDI) by country, at www.nationmaster.com.
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