Strengths And Weaknesses Of The Human Development Index

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In this essay I will assess the strengths and the weaknesses of the Human Development Index, one of the ways in which development is measured. I will also mention some changes and criticisms that have been made. The HDI is a tool that was created by two economists in 1990, Amartya Sen and Mahbub ul Haq. It is published annually by the United Nations Development Programme. The HDI is used to measure the level of development of countries and to rank them accordingly, as developed or developing. Countries are measured under three different elements; life expectancy at birth, literacy and standard of living. The Human Development Index has many strengths in measuring a country’s development. Firstly, the HDI takes many different factors into account when measuring development. ‘Compared with the traditional measure of GDP, the HDI is a broader measure of development, since it captures not only the level of income but also incorporates measures of health and education.’ (REC, 2011). Economic factors are not the only importance when measuring a country’s development and HDI shows this by also taking other equally significant factors into account. The Human Development Index could be considered the overall measure of development within a country. Another strength of the HDI is how easy it is to understand and compare the results of different states. The results are displayed in numerical form and can range from 0 to 1. The higher the number, the more ‘developed’ the country is.

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