composite statistic of life expectancy, education, and income indices
World map of countries by Human Development Index categories in increments of 0.050 (based on 2017 data, published on 14 September 2018).
World map representing Human Development Index categories (based on 2017 data, published in 2018).
0.800–1.000 (very high)
The Human Development Index (HDI) is a statistic composite index of life expectancy, education, and per capita income indicators, which are used to rank countries into four tiers of human development. A country scores a higher HDI when the lifespan is higher, the education level is higher, and the GDP per capita is higher. It was developed by Indian Nobel prize winner Amartya Sen and Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq, with help from Gustav Ranis of Yale University and Lord Meghnad Desai of the London School of Economics, and was further used to measure a country's development by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
The 2010 Human Development Report introduced an Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI). While the simple HDI remains useful, it stated that "the IHDI is the actual level of human development (accounting for inequality)", and "the HDI can be viewed as an index of 'potential' human development (or the maximum IHDI that could be achieved if there were no inequality)". The index does not take into account several factors, such as the net wealth per capita or the relative quality of goods in a country. This situation tends to lower the ranking for some of the most advanced countries, such as the G7 members and others.
The index is based on the human development approach, developed by Ul Haq, often framed in terms of whether people are able to "be" and "do" desirable things in life. Examples include—Being: well fed, sheltered, healthy; Doings: work, education, voting, participating in community life. The freedom of choice is central—someone choosing to be hungry (as during a religious fast) is quite different to someone who is hungry because they cannot afford to buy food.
The origins of the HDI are found in the annual Human Development Reports produced by the Human Development Reports Office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). These were devised and launched by Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq in 1990, and had the explicit purpose "to shift the focus of development economics from national income accounting to people-centered policies". To produce the Human Development Reports, Mahbub ul Haq formed a group of development economists including Paul Streeten, Frances Stewart, Gustav Ranis, Keith Griffin, Farhan C.M, Sudhir Anand, and Meghnad Desai. Nobel laureate Amartya Sen utilized Haq's work in his own work on human capabilities. Haq believed that a simple composite measure of human development was needed to convince the public, academics, and politicians that they can and should evaluate development not only by economic advances but also improvements in human well-being.
The underlying principle behind the Human Development Index.