HDI Overview

HDI Overview

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According to the Human Development Report 2011-Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All, UNDP, 





• During 2011 India positions 134 (HDI value 0.547) among 187 countries in terms of HDI ranking, whereas Pakistan ranks 145 (HDI value 0.504), China ranks 101 (HDI value 0.687), Sri Lanka ranks 97 (HDI value 0.691) and Bangladesh ranks 146 (HDI value 0.500). India fares worse than the average global value of 0.682.

• India's ranking in terms of Gender Inequality Index is 129 (GII value 0.617) whereas in the same area Pakistan ranks 115 (GII value 0.573), China ranks 35 (GII value 0.209), Sri Lanka ranks 74 (GII value 0.419) and Bangladesh ranks 112 (GII value 0.550).  

• India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have some of the highest absolute numbers of Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) poor.

• India has by far the largest number of multidimensionally poor–612 million, more than half the country’s population, and larger than the total number of people measured according to the same criteria in all sub-Saharan countries.

• In South Asia, 97 percent of the multidimensionally poor lack access to clean drinking water, toilets, or modern cooking fuels—and 18 percent lack all three. More than 85 percent of the multidimensionally poor that in South Asia also lack access to modern sanitation facilities.

• The top four countries with high HDI are: Norway (0.943), Australia (0.929), Netherlands (0.910) and United States (0.910). The top four countries with low HDI are: Democratic Republic of Congo (0.286), Niger (0.295), Burundi (0.316) and Mozambique (0.322).

• Between 1970 and 2010 the countries in the lowest 25 percent of the HDI rankings improved their overall HDI achievement by a remarkable 82 percent, twice the global average. If the pace of improvement over the past 40 years were to be continued for the next 40, the great majority of countries would achieve HDI levels by 2050 equal to or better than those now enjoyed only by the top 25 percent in today’s HDI rankings.

• When the Human Development Index is adjusted for internal inequalities in health, education and income, some of the wealthiest nations drop out of the HDI’s top 20: the United States falls from #4 to #23, the Republic of Korea from #15 to #32, and Israel from #17 to #25. 

• The Gender Inequality Index (GII) shows that Sweden leads the world in gender equality, as measured by this composite index of reproductive health, years of schooling, parliamentary representation, and participation in the labour market. Sweden is followed in the gender inequality rankings by the Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Finland, Norway, Germany, Singapore, Iceland and France. Yemen ranks as the least equitable of the 146 countries in the GII, followed by Chad, Niger, Mali, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea, Liberia, Central African Republic and Sierra Leone.

• The 2011 Human Development Report shows how sustainability is inextricably linked to basic questions of equity—that is, of fairness and social justice and of greater access to a better quality of life.

• Sustainable human development is the expansion of the substantive freedoms of people today while making reasonable efforts to avoid seriously compromising those of future generations.

• New analysis shows how power imbalances and gender inequalities at the national level are linked to reduced access to clean water and improved sanitation, land degradation and deaths due to indoor and outdoor air pollution, amplifying the effects associated with income disparities. Gender inequalities also interact with environmental outcomes and make them worse.

• Reproductive rights can further reduce environmental pressures by slowing global demographic growth, with the world population now projected to rise from 7 billion today to 9.3 billion within 40 years.

• While three-quarters of the growth in emissions since 1970 comes from low, medium and high HDI countries, overall levels of greenhouse gases remain much greater in very high HDI countries.

• The average person in a very high HDI country accounts for more than four times the carbon dioxide emissions and about twice the methane and nitrous oxide emissions of a person in a low, medium or high HDI country—and about 30 times the carbon dioxide emissions of a person in a low HDI country

• Globally, nearly 40 percent of land is degraded due to soil erosion, reduced fertility and overgrazing. Land productivity is declining, with estimated yield loss as high as 50 percent in the most adverse scenarios.

• Agriculture accounts for 70–85 percent of water use, and an estimated 20 percent of global grain production uses water unsustainably, imperilling future agricultural growth.

• Deforestation is a major challenge. Between 1990 and 2010 Latin America and the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa experienced the greatest forest losses, followed by the Arab States.

• Today, around 350 million people, many of them poor, live in or near forests on which they rely for subsistence and incomes. Both deforestation and restrictions on access to natural resources can hurt the poor.

• Around 45 million people—at least 6 million of them women—fish for a living and are threatened by overfishing and climate change.

• Some 120 national Constitutions guarantee environmental protections, but in many countries there is little enforcement of these provisions.

• Environmental deprivations in the present report include access to modern cooking fuel, clean water and basic sanitation. In developing countries at least 6 people in 10 experience one of these environmental deprivations, and 4 in 10 experience two or more. Environmental deprivations disproportionately contribute to multidimensional poverty, accounting for 20 percent of the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI).

• South Asia has among the world’s highest levels of urban air pollution, with cities in Bangladesh and Pakistan suffering from especially acute air contamination

• Energy is central to human development, yet some 1.5 billion people worldwide—more than one in five—lack electricity. Global energy supply reached a tipping point in 2010, with renewables accounting for 25 percent of global power capacity and delivering more than 18 percent of global electricity.

• A tax of just 0.005 percent on foreign exchange trading could raise $40 billion yearly or more, thus, significantly boosting aid flows to poor countries—amounting to $130 billion in 2010. 

• India’s Rural Employment Guarantee Act cost about 0.5 percent of GDP in 2009 and benefited 45 million households—one-tenth of the labour force; Brazil’s Bolsa Familia and Mexico’s Oportunidades programmes cost about 0.4 percent of GDP and provide safety nets for about one-fifth of their populations.

• Nearly 3 in 10 children of primary school age in low HDI countries are not even enrolled in primary school, and multiple constraints, some environmental, persist even for enrolled children.


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