Turkey ranks 92th among 177 countries

30 Nov 2006

Turkey is up by two steps in the 2006 Human Development Index.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has released its 16th annual Human Development Index (HDI), which represents an improvement of two positions for Turkey in human development from 2005 HDI. Turkey ranks at 92nd among the 177 countries and is considered as a “medium development” country in the 2006 Human Development Index, published with the United Nations Development Programme’s Global Human Development Report. UNDP Administrator, Kemal Dervis, released the UNDP Human Development Report for 2006 on 9 November in Cape Town, South Africa. The focus of this year’s report is “Beyond scarcity: Power, poverty, and the global water crisis”.

Turkey’s increased human development ranking in 2006 has been most positively affected by an aggregate increase in income, with a GDP per capita of $7,753 (PPP – Purchasing Power Parity). At the same time, as the HDI indicates, Turkey continues to face ongoing human development challenges especially in the areas of education and life expectancy. In these areas, Turkey has been outperformed by poorer countries such as Albania and Bosnia. Additionally, like Saudi Arabia and Iran, Turkey’s overall HDI rank is lower than its income rank which “draws attention to the fact that some countries are better than others at converting wealth into opportunities for health and education,” argues the 2006 UNDP Global Human Development Report.

These development challenges facing Turkey are also recognized in the country’s own national Millennium Development Goal Report, released in 2005, which highlighted the overall issues of gender and regional disparities, and more specifically within the sectors of health and education, as the more significant development challenges facing the country.

The Human Development Report for 2006 also provides the Human Poverty Index (HPI) for 102 developing countries – a composite index measuring deprivations and capturing social exclusion. Turkey ranks at 21st among the 102 developing countries with a human poverty value of 9.8 percent, meaning approximately 7 million people in Turkey are deprived of some basic amenities such as access to education or facing the threat of social exclusion due to lack of educational attainment.

Additionally, the report also provides a Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) which is intended to measure women’s and men’s abilities to participate actively in economic and political life and their command over economic resources. The GEM measures three dimensions in this area: political participation and decision-making power; economic participation and decision-making power; and command over economic resources. In 2006, Turkey ranks at 72nd out of the 75 countries globally for which the relevant Gender Empowerment Measure statistics are available. In this regard, Turkey is followed only by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.

Information on Human Development Index:

Each year since 1990, UNDP through the Human Development Report has published the Human Development Index (HDI) that looks beyond economic growth measures and gross domestic product to a broader definition of well being.

The HDI provides a composite measure of three dimensions of human development: living a long and healthy life, being educated and having a decent standard of living. Through this focus, the Human Development Reports argue that development is ultimately ‘a process of enlarging people’s choices,’ not just raising national incomes. UNDP believes that rising incomes may not necessarily mean change in other dimensions such as child mortality and school enrollment. The Human Development Index as a whole is a barometer for changes in human-well being and for comparing progress in different regions and among countries.

The 2006 Human Development Index relies on 2004 statistics provided by national governments. Based on this data, the HDI provides a ranking for 175 UN Member States, in addition to Hong Kong (China), and the Occupied Palestinian Territories for a total of 177 countries and areas.

In terms of human development, as noted in the 2006 HDI, Norway is the most successful country in the world with a 0.965 HDI value, followed by Iceland and Australia. New EU member states of Czech Republic and Hungary rank in the “high development” category of countries at 30th and 35th, along with candidate countries of Bulgaria and Romania at 54th and 60th positions.

All regions of the world have increased their HDI score since the mid 1970s. Countries of eastern Europe and Central Asia, following a severe decline in the first half of the 1990s, have also recovered strongly and regained their levels. For Sub Saharan African countries however, the trend has been the reverse, principally due the significant effect of HIV AIDS on life expectancy. Sierra Leone and Niger rank at the lowest end of the human development index.

As the report indicates, over the past decades there have been unprecedented increases in material wealth and prosperity across the world. At the same time, these increases have been very uneven, with vast numbers of people not participating in progress. Mass poverty, deeply entrenched inequality, and lack of political empowerment contribute to deny a large share of the world’s population the freedom to make real choices. Moreover, GDP is still measured in a way that does not take into account environmental degradation and the depletion of natural resources.

Human Development Indicators (select countries)


Rank

Country

Human Development Index Value

Life Expectancy at Birth
(years)

Adult Literary Rate
(% ages 15 and older)

Combined enrollment ratio
(%)

GDP Per Capita

(PPP US$)

1

Norway

0.965

79.6

100

100

38,454

2

Iceland

0.960

80.9

100

96

33,051

3

Australia

0.957

80.5

100

113

30,331

30

Czech Republic

0.885

75.7

100

81

19,408

35

Hungary

0.869

73.0

100

87

16,814

54

Bulgaria

0.816

72.4

98.2

81

8,078

60

Romania

0.805

71.5

97.3

75

8,480

76

Saudi Arabia

0.777

72.0

79.4

59

13,825*

91

Paraguay

0.757

71.2

93.0

70

4,813*

92

Turkey

0.757

68.9

87.4

69

7,753

93

Sri Lanka

0.755

74.3

90.7

63

4,390

96

Iran

0.746

70.7

77.0

72

7,525

176

Sierra Leone

0.335

41.0

35.1

65

561

177

Niger

0.311

44.6

28.7

21

779*

       *   Estimate is based on regression