HDI Overview

HDI Overview

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According to the 2010 Human Development Report, which has been produced by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),


• The 2010 Human Development Index (HDI), which is a composite national measure of health, education and income for 169 countries, shows that Norway, Australia and New Zealand are leading the world in HDI achievement with Niger, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zimbabwe at the bottom of the annual rankings.

• The next seven among the top 10 countries in the 2010 HDI are: the United States, Ireland, Lichtenstein, the Netherlands, Canada, Sweden and Germany. The other seven among the bottom 10 countries are: Mali, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Chad, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and Burundi.

• For the 20th anniversary of the Report, The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development, the 2010 HDI uses data and methodologies that were not available in most countries in 1990 for the dimensions of income, education and health. Gross National Income per capita replaces Gross Domestic Product per capita, to include income from remittances and international development assistance, for example. The upper ‘cap’ on income for index weighting purposes was removed to give countries that had surpassed the previous US$40,000 limit an HDI, better reflecting real incomes levels.

• In education, expected years schooling for school-age children replaces gross enrolment, and average years of schooling in the adult population replaces adult literacy rates, to provide a fuller picture of education levels. Life expectancy remains the main indicator for health.

• 2010's HDI should not be compared to the HDI that appeared in previous editions of the Human Development Report due to the use of different indicators and calculations.

• In addition to the 2010 HDI, the Report includes three new indices: the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index, the Gender Inequality Index and the Multidimensional Poverty Index.

• Significant progress in human development was also found for most of the nine South Asian countries in the trends analysis—Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Iran, Nepal and Pakistan. Over the past 40 years life expectancy increased by 23 years in Bangladesh, 18 years in Iran, 16 years in India, and 10 years in Afghanistan.

• Eight Indian states, with poverty as acute as the 26 poorest African countries measured, are home to 421 million multidimensionally poor people, more than the 410 million multidimensional poor people living in those African countries combined.

• About 1.75 billion people in the 104 countries covered by the MPI—a third of their population— live in multidimensional poverty— that is, with at least 30 percent of the indicators reflecting acute deprivation in health, education and standard of living. This exceeds the estimated 1.44 billion people in those countries who live on $1.25 a day or less (though it is below the share who live on $2 or less). The patterns of deprivation also differ from those of income poverty in important ways: in many countries—including Ethiopia and Guatemala—the number of people who are multidimensionally poor is higher. However, in about a fourth of the countries for which both estimates are available—including China, Tanzania and Uzbekistan— rates of income poverty are higher.

• Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest incidence of multidimensional poverty. The level ranges from a low of 3 percent in South Africa to a massive 93 percent in Niger; the average share of deprivations ranges from about 45 percent (in Gabon, Lesotho and Swaziland) to 69 percent (in Niger). Yet half the world’s multidimensionally poor live in South Asia (51 percent, or 844 million people), and more than a quarter live in Africa (28 percent, or 458 million).

• Gender inequality varies tremendously across countries—the losses in achievement due to gender inequality (not directly comparable to total inequality losses because different variables are used) range from 17 percent to 85 percent. The Netherlands tops the list of the most gender-equal countries, followed by Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland.

• Countries with unequal distribution of human development also experience high inequality between women and men, and countries with high gender inequality also experience unequal distribution of human development. Among the countries doing very badly on both fronts are Central African Republic, Haiti and Mozambique.
According to the Human Development Report 2007-08, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP):

  • The HDI (human development index) for India is 0.619, which gives the country a rank of 128th out of 177 countries. The HDI provides a composite measure of three dimensions of human development: living a long and healthy life (measured by life expectancy), being educated (measured by adult literacy and enrolment at the primary, secondary and tertiary level) and having a decent standard of living (measured by purchasing power parity, PPP, income).


  • The HPI-1 (human poverty index) value for India is 31.3, which gives the country a rank of 62nd out of 108 countries. The Human Poverty Index for developing countries (HPI-1), focuses on the proportion of people below a threshold level in the same dimensions of human development as the human development index - living a long and healthy life, having access to education, and a decent standard of living.   


According to the National Human Development Report (2001), which has been prepared by the Planning Commission (GoI):

Kerala (0.638) topped the ranking in terms of the Human Development Index (HDI), followed by Punjab (0.537), Tamil Nadu (0.531), Maharastra (0.523) and Haryana (0.509), during 2001. The worst performer in terms of HDI was Bihar (0.367), followed by Assam (0.386), Uttar Pradesh (0.388) and Madhya Pradesh (0.394).  


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