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.
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. Described by Sen as a "vulgar measure", because of its limitations, it nonetheless focuses attention on wider aspects of development than the per capita income measure it supplanted, and is a pathway for researchers into the wide variety of more detailed measures contained in the Human Development Reports.
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.
Each year, UN member states are listed and ranked according to these measures. Those high on the list often advertise it, as a means of attracting talented immigrants (economically, individual capital) or discouraging emigration.
An alternative measure, focusing on the amount of poverty in a country, is the Human Poverty Index.
- First World
- Second World
- Third World
- Fourth World
- Fifth World
- Least Developed Countries (Fourth World)
Adapted from the Wikipedia article, "Human Development Index" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Development_Index, used under the GNU Free Documentation License.