HDI Overview

HDI Overview

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According to the report entitled Human Development Report 2019: Beyond income, beyond averages, beyond today: Inequalities in human development in the 21st century (released in December 2019), which has been produced by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), please click here, here, here, here and here to access:

Human Development

• In 2018, India's Human Development Index (HDI) ranking was 129th (HDI value 0.647) among 189 countries and UN recognized territories, while China's ranking was 85th (HDI value 0.758), Sri Lanka's 71st (HDI value 0.780), Bhutan's 134th (HDI value 0.617), Bangladesh's 135th (HDI value 0.614) and Pakistan's 152nd (HDI value 0.560).

• India's HDI rank for 2017 was 129 out of 189 countries and UN recognized territories, which remained the same for 2018 HDI. In case of India, HDI value for 2018 was 0.647 and for 2017 it was 0.643, according to the Human Development Report 2019.

• According to the report entitled Human Development Indices and Indicators: 2018 Statistical Update, India's Human Development Index (HDI) ranking was 130th (HDI value 0.640) among 189 countries in 2017.

• The report entitled Human Development Report 2019 cautions that it is misleading to compare values and rankings with those of previously published reports, because of revisions and updates of the underlying data and adjustments to goalposts (viz. minimum and maximum values). Readers are advised to assess progress in HDI values by referring to Table-2 (‘HDI Trends’) in the 2019 Human Development Report. This Table-2 is based on consistent indicators, methodology and time-series data and, thus, shows real changes in values and ranks over time, reflecting the actual progress countries have made. Small changes in values should be interpreted with caution as they may not be statistically significant due to sampling variation. Generally speaking, changes at the level of the third decimal place in any of the composite indices are considered insignificant.

• Between 1990 and 2018, the average annual HDI growth (based on consistent indicators, methodology and time-series data) for India was 1.46 percent, China was 1.48 percent, Bangladesh was 1.65 percent, Pakistan was 1.17 percent and Sri Lanka was 0.80 percent.

• Between 1990 and 2018, India’s HDI value increased from 0.431 to 0.647 (based on consistent indicators, methodology and time-series data) — an increase by 50.12 percent.

• Based on consistent indicators, methodology and time-series data, India's HDI value was 0.431 in 1990, 0.497 in 2000, 0.581 in 2010, 0.607 in 2013, 0.627 in 2015, 0.637 in 2016, 0.643 in 2017 and 0.647 in 2018.

• In 2018, India’s life expectancy at birth was 69.4 years, expected years of schooling was 12.3 years, mean years of schooling was 6.5 years and Gross National Income (GNI) per capita was 6,829 in 2011 PPP $ terms.

• Between 1990 and 2018, India’s life expectancy at birth increased by 11.6 years, mean years of schooling increased by 3.5 years and expected years of schooling increased by 4.7 years. India’s GNI per capita increased by about 262.9 percent between 1990 and 2018.

• India’s 2018 HDI value of 0.647 is above the average of 0.634 for countries in the medium human development group and above the average of 0.642 for countries in South Asia.

• India’s HDI value for 2018 was 0.647. However, when the value is discounted for inequality, the HDI falls to 0.477, a loss of 26.3 percent due to inequality in the distribution of the HDI dimension indices. Bangladesh and Pakistan show losses due to inequality of 24.3 percent and 31.1 percent, respectively. The average loss due to inequality for medium HDI countries was 25.9 percent and for South Asia it was 25.9 percent. The Coefficient of Human Inequality for India was 25.7 percent.

• The female 2018 HDI value for India was 0.574 in contrast with 0.692 for males.

• In 2018, the value of India's Gender Development Index – ratio of female HDI to male HDI – was 0.829, which is lesser than that of China (GDI value 0.961), Nepal (GDI value 0.897), Bhutan (GDI value 0.893), Sri Lanka (GDI value 0.938) and Bangladesh (GDI value 0.895).

• During 2018, India ranked 122nd (GII value 0.501) among 162 countries in terms of Gender Inequality Index (GII) while China ranked 39th (GII value 0.163) out of 162 countries. In comparison, Bangladesh (GII value 0.536) and Pakistan (GII value 0.547) were ranked 129th and 136th, respectively on this index.

• Nearly 11.7 percent of seats were held by Indian women in Parliament in 2018 as compared to 24.9 percent in China.

• During 2010-2018, female share of employment in senior and middle management for India was 13.0 percent, Bangladesh was 11.5 percent, Sri Lanka was 25.6 percent, Norway was 33.5 percent, United Kingdom was 34.2 percent and the United States was 40.5 percent.

• Military expenditure (viz. all current and capital expenditures on the armed forces, including peacekeeping forces; defence ministries and other government agencies engaged in defence projects; paramilitary forces, if these are judged to be trained and equipped for military operations; and military space activities) as a proportion of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for India was 2.4 percent during 2010-2018. The same for China was 1.9 percent, Pakistan was 4.0 percent, Bangladesh was 1.4 percent, Sri Lanka was 1.9 percent, United Kingdom was 1.8 percent and United States was 3.2 percent during 2010-2018.

• In India 39.0 percent of adult women (25 years and above) reached at least some secondary level of education as compared to 63.5 percent of their male counterparts during the period 2010-18.

• Female labour force participation rate (15 years and above) in India was 23.6 percent whereas male LFPR was 78.6 percent in 2018. Female LFPR in China was 61.3 percent and male LFPR was 75.9 percent. LFPR is defined as the number of persons in the labour force per 100 persons (of the population).

• For every 100,000 live births, 174.0 women die from pregnancy related causes; and the adolescent birth rate was 13.2 births per 1,000 women of ages 15-19 years.

Poverty and Inequality

• Despite India's significant progress on the multidimensional poverty front in the past decade, it accounts for 27.9 percent of the 1.3 billion multidimensional poor.

• The multidimensional poverty headcount is 6.7 percentage points higher than income poverty. This implies that individuals living above the income poverty line may still suffer deprivations in health, education and/or standard of living.

• The most recent survey data that were publicly available for India’s MPI estimation refer to 2015/2016. In India, 27.9 percent of the population (373,735 thousand people) are multidimensionally poor while an additional 19.3 percent are classified as vulnerable to multidimensional poverty (258,002 thousand people). The breadth of deprivation (intensity) in India, which is the average deprivation score experienced by people in multidimensional poverty, was 43.9 percent. The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which is the share of the population that is multidimensionally poor, adjusted by the intensity of the deprivations, was 0.123. Bangladesh and Pakistan have MPIs of 0.198 and 0.198 respectively.

• Often the cultural currents that drive horizontal inequality are deep enough to perpetuate it despite policies to ban or reduce it, as in India.

• Between 2005/2006 and 2015/2016 the number of multidimensionally poor people in India fell by more than 271 million. On average, progress was more intense among the poorest states and the poorest groups.

• Despite progress on human development indicators, horizontal inequalities persist, and their dynamics follow the same pattern described in the context of vertical inequalities in human development: significant gaps, convergence in basic capabilities and divergence in enhanced capabilities.

• The Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes underperform the rest of society across human development indicators, including education attainment and access to digital technologies. These groups have suffered from stigma and exclusion for centuries. Modern India has tried to constitutionally redress the disparities through affirmative action, positive discrimination and reservation policies for these groups.

• Since 2005/06 there has been a reduction in inequalities in basic areas of human development. For example, there is a convergence of education attainment, with historically marginalized groups catching up with the rest of the population in the proportion of people with five or more years of education. Similarly, there is convergence in access to and uptake of mobile phones.

• There has been an increase in inequalities in enhanced areas of human development, such as access to computers and to 12 or more years of education: Groups that were more advantaged in 2005/2006 have made the most gains, and marginalized groups are moving forward but in comparative terms are lagging further behind, despite progress.

• Gini coefficient in developing countries—do not yet capture this reality, and it is plausible that those indicators might be missing part of the story

• Gini coefficient (official measure of income inequality, which varies between zero and 100, with zero reflecting complete equality and 100 indicating absolute inequality) of India was 35.7 while that of China was 38.6, Bangladesh was 32.4, Pakistan was 33.5, Sri Lanka was 39.8 and Bhutan was 37.4 during 2010-2017.

• In many countries tax data are not available to the public. The production of administrative tax data has historically been closely related to the existence of an income or wealth tax in a country. It was the introduction of the income tax in the United States in 1913, and in India in 1922, that led public administrations to publish income tax statistics. Such information is critical for tax administrations to properly administer taxes and for legislators and taxpayers to be informed about tax policy. But governments are sometimes unwilling to publicly release the data.

• One way of overcoming the limitations of each data source is to combine data from different types of sources, particularly combining administrative tax data with survey data.

• In India estimates based on administrative tax data show that the top 1 percent may have an income share close to 20 percent. But households report an income share of around 10 percent, suggesting that household survey data starkly underestimate incomes at the top of the distribution.

• The top 10 percent received an estimated 47 percent of income in the United States, 41 percent in China and 55 percent in India.

• The European Union stands out as the most equal region based on the top 10 percent’s share of pretax income, with 34 percent. The Middle East is the most unequal, with the top 10 percent holding 61 percent of pretax income.

• Income inequality based on the top 10 percent’s income share has risen since 1980 in most regions but at different rates. The rise was extreme in the Russian Federation, which was one of the most equal countries in 1990 (at least by this measure) and became one of the most unequal in just five years. The rise was also pronounced in India and the United States, though not as sharp as in the Russian Federation. In China, after a sharp rise, inequality stabilized in the mid-2000s.

International Scenario

• The top five positions in the global HDI rankings are: Norway (0.954), Switzerland (0.946), Ireland (0.942), Germany (0.939) and Hong Kong (0.939).

• The bottom five are: Burundi (0.423), South Sudan (0.413), Chad (0.401), Central African Republic (0.381) and Niger (0.377).

• Women are more likely than men to be in low human development. These gender gaps tend to be larger in countries with lower HDI scores. Worldwide, the average HDI for women is 6 percent lower than for men. At the global level the gap in HDI between women and men is due to women’s lower income and educational attainment in many countries.

• The gender gaps in HDI are larger in the low human development group of countries where the HDI for women is 14.2 percent lower than the HDI for men. At the other end, countries in the very high HD group have, on average, a gender gap in HDI of 2.1 percent.

• The empowerment gap between women and men, as measured by the Gender Inequality Index, is reducing but at a very slow pace. There are small gains in parliamentary representation (24.1 percent of seats held by women) and in reduction of adolescent birth rate (42.9 births per 1000 women of adolescent age), but the gap in economic empowerment persists (the labour force participation rate of women is still 27 percentage points lower than of men).

• Unequal distribution of human development gains in education, health and living standards within countries remains a challenge to achieving human development for all. The Inequality adjusted HDI (IHDI) shows that globally, 20 percent of human development progress was lost in 2018, when taking into account inequalities in HDI indicators.


Please click here to access the technical notes related to various terms used above, their meanings and formula to calculate them.


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