What is the Human Development Index?


Since 1990, the United Nations has created and compiled the Human Development Index (HDI) as a statistic to assess. The levels of social and economic development in various nations. It consists of the average number of years spent in school, the projected number of years spent in school. The average age at birth, and the gross national income (GNI) per person.

What is Human Development Index?

In addition to typical economic growth data like GDP. Assessing a country’s capacity for individual human development offers an additional criterion for assessing its level of development.

When two countries, for instance, have almost the same GNI per capita but have vastly different results in terms of human development. What is the Human Development Index? (Photo from istock)

  • The United Nations uses a measurement system called the Human Development Index (HDI) to assess each nation’s degree of individual human development.
  • In 1990, the UN first made it official.
  •  Instead of relying solely on economic growth to gauge a nation’s development.
  • In order to evaluate and compare nations. The HDI takes into account factors including average annual income and educational expectations.
  • Both social activists and economists have criticized the HDI for offering little more information. Beyond straightforward measures of the economic standard of living.

How is Human Development Index measured?

The Human Development Index (HDI) provides a comprehensive measure of a nation’s achievement in fundamental human development factors. To determine a nation’s HDI, we first calculate the average of the indices representing three key aspects of human development: knowledge and understanding, living a long and healthy life, and having an acceptable standard of living.

  • The health component of the HDI is based on life expectancy at birth for each country.
  • Education is quantified on two levels. Firstly, we consider a child’s predicted years of schooling at the typical age for starting school. Secondly, we look at the mean years of schooling for a country’s citizens.
  • For the economic metric, we use GNI per capita based on purchasing power parity (PPP) as an indicator of average income and the standard of living.
  • To compute the final HDI score for each nation, we take the cube root of the product of the normalized component values.


Drawbacks of HDI

The HDI has drawn criticism. It is a condensed and admittedly incomplete assessment of human progress. The HDI does not directly reflect aspects of quality of life, such as movements for female empowerment or a general sense of security. The U.N. Human Development Report Office (HDRO) provides additional composite indices to assess various aspects of life, including inequality issues like gender disparity or racial inequality, in acknowledgement of these facts.

Given the strong connections between the HDI, its components, and more straightforward measures of income per capita. Many economists claim that the HDI is virtually redundant. Both in terms of values and ranks, the GNI per capita (or even GDP per capita) strongly correlates with both the overall HDI and the other two components. According to them, it would be simpler and clearer to compare per-capita GNI across nations given these strong and consistent connections than to spend time and money gathering data for additional components that offer little to no new information to the overall index.

Indication in HDI

The four elements that make up the Human growth Index (HDI)—mean years of schooling, expected years of schooling, life expectancy at birth. And Gross National Income (GNI) per capita—measure each nation’s social and economic growth.

Does a high HDI mean Good or Bad?

The HDI should be as high as possible. A high HDI basically indicates that the nation in question provides a high standard of living, with respectable healthcare, education, and employment possibilities.

Which are the highest HDI countries?

What is the Human Development Index? (Photo from istock)

Switzerland came out on top in the most recent HDI ranking from 2022 with an HDI score of 0.962. The top five was completed by Australia, Hong Kong, Norway, and Iceland. With an HDI score of 0.921, the US was only rated twenty-first.


The Human Development Index (HDI), developed by the United Nations. Aims to measure a nation’s prosperity in terms of both economic and non-economic elements. The length of life expectancy and level of education are non-economic determinants. Gross national income (GNI) per capita is used to gauge economic parameters. The U.N. claims that the HDI advances our knowledge of global relative well-being. Although economists have criticized the index as being excessively simplistic and methodology-defective.


In conclusion, the Human Development Index (HDI) stands as a pivotal tool in assessing and comprehensively understanding the overall well-being and development of a nation. Developed by the United Nations, the HDI takes into account three fundamental dimensions of human life: health, education, and income, providing a more holistic perspective on a country’s status than traditional economic metrics alone.

The HDI considers life expectancy at birth, providing an essential snapshot of a nation’s healthcare and healthcare infrastructure, and emphasizes the need for citizens to live long and healthy lives. It evaluates education through measures of expected and mean years of schooling, recognizing the importance of access to quality education from an early age and over one’s lifetime. Finally, it factors in Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, adjusted for purchasing power, to gauge the standard of living in a country.

By normalizing these diverse components on a scale from 0 to 1, the HDI allows for cross-country comparisons that transcend mere economic indicators, providing a more balanced assessment of human development. This index brings forth a paradigm shift by focusing on the well-being of individuals and their access to opportunities rather than purely economic growth.

The HDI has proven instrumental in guiding policies and interventions. That aim to improve the living conditions and prospects of individuals in countries around the world. By promoting a holistic approach to development. The HDI encourages governments, international organizations. And individuals to work collectively towards ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to lead a fulfilling life. Filled with good health, education, and economic prosperity. It reflects the values of human development and underscores the importance of equity, dignity. And sustainable progress for all, making it an indispensable tool in the pursuit of a better and more just world.



Thinking about why we need Political Parties, click on the link below:
Why do we need Political Parties






One Comment on “What is the Human Development Index?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *