Celebrating the 20th anniversary of HDRs

15 Nov 2010

The 2010 Human Development Report titled The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development continues the tradition of pushing the frontiers of development thinking.


New Horizons - For the first time since 1990, the Report looks back rigorously at the past several decades and identifies often surprising trends and patterns with important lessons for the future. These varied pathways to human development show that there is no single formula for sustainable progress—and that impressive long-term gains can and have been achieved even without consistent economic growth.

According to the 2010 HDI, Norway, Australia and New Zealand leading the world in HDI achievement with Niger, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe at the bottom of the annual rankings.

Each year, the HDI and other indices are published as part of the global Human Development Report. Global Human Development Reports frame debates on some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity from climate change to human rights. Human Development Reports are independent reports, commissioned by UNDP.

The reports rely on international data agencies with the mandate, resources and expertise to collect international data on specific indicators. The Report is translated into more than a dozen languages and launched in more than 100 countries annually.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the 2010 report “The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development” reaffirms the basic concept of human development as the expansion of people’s freedoms to live long, healthy and creative lives; to advance other goals they have reason to value; and to engage actively in shaping development equitably and sustainably on a shared planet. For further information about the report please visit http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr2010.

The new Human Development Index

The first Human Development Report in 1990 featured the newly devised HDI. Its premise, considered radical at the time, was simple: national development should be measured not just by economic growth, as had long been the practice, but also by health and education achievement, which was also measurable for most countries.

For the 20th anniversary of the Report, The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development 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 income 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.

This year’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. The 2010 HDI charts national ranking changes over five-year intervals, rather than on a year-to-year basis.

“Annual changes in national HDI rankings don’t tell us much about the reality of development, which is inherently a long-term process,” explained Jeni Klugman, lead author of the Report.

Micronesia has entered the HDI table for the first time this year, while Zimbabwe has re-entered after not being included in 2009 due to missing income values. Fourteen countries, Antigua and Barbuda, Bhutan, Cuba, Dominica, Eritrea, Grenada, Lebanon, Oman, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles and Vanuatu, as well as the occupied Palestinian territories, have been dropped from the HDI due to a lack of internationally compiled and verified data. For example, four countries have information on all HDI components except for Gross National Income: Cuba, Iraq, Marshall Islands and Palau.

The indicators of the three dimensions are calibrated and combined to generate an HDI score between zero and one. Countries are grouped into four human development categories or quartiles: very high, high, medium and low. A country is in the very high group if its HDI is in the top quartile, in the high group if its HDI is in percentiles 51–75, in the medium group if its HDI is in percentiles 26–50, and in the low group if its HDI is in the bottom quartile.

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. Tables on various measures of human development are also available, including demographic trends, the economy, education, health and more.

For a full listing of the Human Development Index and other information contained in the 2010 Human Development Report, please visit: www.hdr.undp.org adresini ziyaret ediniz. For Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Human Development Index, please click here.

Build your own index

UNDP re-launched its Human Development Report website (http://hdr.undp.org) with extensive new resources, interactive tools and revised statistical country profiles for all UN member states. The website features the new Human Development Report in nine different language editions in hardcover and online. The 20th anniversary Report includes the new Human Development Index (HDI) and three new supplementary indices: the Inequality-adjusted HDI, the Gender Inequality Index and the Multidimensional Poverty Index.

In its major innovations, the Human Development Report website also now features:

• A user-friendly “build your own index” option, drawing on extensive HDI databases
• An interactive visualization tool for all countries in the HDI
• An interactive map with the latest international development statistics
• An updated database permitting long-term statistical comparisons

With these new online tools and a greatly expanded database of international data, visitors can explore statistics, generate graphs and images, extract tables of data, and retrieve country profiles with the most current internationally vetted statistics on income, health, education and other development areas.

As has always been UNDP policy, all reports and data on the hdr.undp.org website can be accessed and downloaded free of charge. This includes all 20 years of the annual Human Development Reports, including the 2010 Report, which are available in the most current PDF and e-book formats.

Background research for the reports is also available on line. Since 1990, 140 countries have adopted the Human Development Report framework for their own policy and analytical purposes, producing more than 600 national Human Development Reports with UNDP support. Most are also available on the website.

UNDP has also sponsored scores of independently drafted regional reports, such as the much-praised ten-volume Arab Human Development Report series, which can also be downloaded free of charge. The website – available in English, French and Spanish, with portals to Human Development Reports and other materials in many other languages – features new videos showcasing multi-generational families around the world telling their own personal stories about human development progress over the past several decades.

The website also has an exclusive video interview on the origins and impact of the Human Development Report with Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, who helped develop the HDI with report series founder Mahbub ul Haq. Videos on human development subjects, including climate change, migration and water scarcity, are also available at http://hdr.undp.org.

Pioneering new indices

The 2010 Human Development Report, released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today, features three innovative new measurements complementing the Report’s traditional Human Development Index (HDI): the Inequality-adjusted HDI, the Gender Inequality Index and the Multidimensional Poverty Index.

“These new measures are major methodological advances that can pinpoint problems and successes in a country, and help to develop ideas and policies that can improve people’s lives,” said Jeni Klugman, the Report’s lead author.

The 2010 Report, The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development, introduces the Inequality-adjusted HDI, a measure of human development that accounts for inequality. Under perfect equality, the HDI and Inequality-adjusted HDI are identical. The HDI for an average individual is less than the aggregate HDI when there is inequality in the distribution of health, education and income; the lower the Inequality-adjusted HDI (and the greater the difference between it and the HDI), the greater the inequality.
• The average loss in the HDI due to inequality is 24 percent—adjusted for inequality, the global HDI of 0.68 in 2010 would fall to 0.52, which would represent a drop from the high to the medium HDI category in the world average. Losses range from 6 percent (Czech Republic) to 45 percent (Mozambique), with 80 percent of countries losing more than 10 percent, and 40 percent of countries losing more than 25 percent.
• Countries with lower human development tend to have greater inequality—and thus larger losses in human development: Namibia lost 44 percent in the new Inequality-adjusted HDI, the Central African Republic 42 percent and Haiti 41 percent.

“The Inequality-adjusted HDI shows that in many countries, despite overall average development achievement, far too many people are being left behind,” Klugman said.

The 2010 Report also presents the Gender Inequality Index (GII), a new measure built on the same framework as the HDI and Inequality-adjusted HDI to illuminate differences in the distribution of achievements between women and men. Measuring indicators such as maternal mortality rates and women’s representation in parliaments, the GII shows that: • Gender inequality varies tremendously across countries—losses in achievements due to gender inequality range from 17 percent in the Netherlands to 85 percent in Yemen.

• The 10 least gender-equal countries (in descending order) are Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Central African Republic, Papua New Guinea, Afghanistan, Mali, Niger, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Yemen, with an average GII of 0.79. The most gender-balanced societies under the GII are the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden.
• Countries with unequal distribution of human development also experience high inequality between women and men, and countries with high gender inequality experience unequal distribution of human development. Countries doing very poorly in both categories include the Central African Republic, Haiti and Mozambique.
• Qatar is farthest from gender equality among high-HDI countries; Burundi is the closest to gender equality among low-HDI countries, as is China in the medium-HDI group.
“Providing girls and women with equal educational opportunities, medical care, legal rights and political representation is not only socially just, but one of the best possible investments in development for all people,” Klugman said. “The Gender Inequality Index is designed to help advance human development progress by objectively measuring the extent and impact of the persistent social disparities between men and women.”

This year’s report also introduces the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which complements income-based poverty measures. The MPI identifies deprivations across the same dimensions as the HDI—health, education and living standards—and shows the number of people who are multidimensionally poor and the deprivations that they face on the household level. The MPI uses 10 indicators; a household is counted as poor if it is deprived in more than three of those areas. The MPI can be deconstructed by region, ethnicity and other groupings as well as by dimension. It can also be adapted further for national use.

Key findings include:
• About 1.7 billion people in the 104 countries covered by the MPI—a third of their population—suffer from multidimensional poverty. This exceeds the estimated 1.3 billion people in those countries estimated to live on $1.25 a day or less.
• Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest incidence of multidimensional poverty, averaging 65 percent and ranging from a low of 3 percent in South Africa to a massive 93 percent in Niger. Yet half the world’s poor people, according to the MPI, are in South Asia—844 million—compared to a total of 458 million in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Multidimensional Poverty Index was produced for the 2010 Human Development Report by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative at the University of Oxford, with UNDP support, as an innovative alternative to the Reports’ formerly used Human Poverty Index.

For further information on the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index, Gender Inequality Index, Multidimensional Poverty Index and other information contained in the 2010 Human Development Report, please visit: http://hdr.undp.org

For Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Inequality Adjusted Human Development Index, please click here.
For Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Gender Inequality Index please click here.
For Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Multi-dimensional Poverty Index please click here.