Human Development Index Analysis

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The measure of development I have chosen to discuss in this essay is the Human Development Index (HDI). HDI was first published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) since 1990. “The Human Development Index is a summary measure of average achievement in key dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, being knowledgeable and have a decent standard of living” (Hdr.undp.org). The health of a person is measured “by life expectancy at birth and those with higher life expectancies rank higher than those with lower life expectancies” (About.com Education). The being knowledgeable is the measurement of the education of a person, this is measured “by the adult literacy rate combined with the gross enrollment ratios of students…show more content…
One strength of HDI is that it measures more social development and not just the economic health of a country, not many other measures would concentrate as much in the social aspect as much as HDI. “This index is based on a belief that, while economic growth is a useful indicator of development it is limited in its ability to capture how expanding income translates into human development” (Power, 2009) Another advantage being that very wealthy countries with uneven income distributions perform quite badly and poor countries with more of an equal distribution usually tend to a lot better. Examples of this are clearly evident in the Human Development Index in 2011 where Estonia’s gross national income(GNI) per capita was only 16,799 but still placed number 34 in sharp contrast to a very wealthy country such as Qatar whose gross national income per capita was a mammoth 107,721 but still placed below Estonia at number 37. Another advantage being that “There is widespread use of HDI to compare development levels and it does reveal clear global patterns” (Daniel Winsbury Sociology).This can be very useful to establish where and what must be causing some problems around the world. The use of measuring factors such as education and health can give a strong indication whether the government is successful in some of its policies. This can show us which countries are suffering in a specific area and see if there is like I…show more content…
One disadvantage being “that, as any aggregate index, it does not allow us to see the relative importance of its different components or to understand why a country’s index changes over time—whether, for example, it happens because of a change in GNP per capita or because of a change in adult literacy” (Worldbank.org, 2015). Yet another problem with HDI is the question of the quality of information, some ask is the data really that reliable. The UNDP who are in charge of constructing the HDI try to “collect their data from international organizations concentrating in collecting data in specific fields” (www.globalpolitics.cz) but it must be asked as well as to where these international organizations are getting their information and whether or not their sources are reliable or not. Another disadvantage of HDI being that it does not cover all measures of development such as areas like human rights and sustainability, without some of these factors of development we cannot judge the definite development of a country. “A fuller picture of a country 's level of human development requires analysis of other indicators and information” (Hdr.undp.org). The three factors used at present to calculate the HDI are too linked with each other some people feel and that it does not give an accurate representation of the development and well-being of a country. The lack of indicators makes us question “How can we really compare
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