This is the first in a series of post about the 2010 UN Human Development Report (HDR). The first HDR was published in 1990 and called on governments and other organizations to consider an alternative means of measuring and describing a nation’s development. Up until this point, and even now, many only consider a country’s GDP or average income when thinking about the county’s development. In the first HDR, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) advocated for the use of a more nuanced, people-centric approach to measuring development. More specifically, they advocated for the use of human development to measure the development of a country. They defined human development as “a process of enlarging people’s choices. The most critical ones are to lead a long and healthy life, to be educated and to enjoy a decent standard of living. Additional choices include political freedom, guaranteed human rights and self-respect — what Adam Smith called the ability to mix with others without being ‘ashamed to appear in public.’”
In order to measure human development, the UNDP utilizes the Human Development Index (HDI). The HDI uses three dimensions — health, education, and living standards — to measure human development. The health of people is measured using life expectancy at birth. Education is measured using mean years of schooling and expected years of schooling. Living standards are based upon the gross national income per capita. The HDI takes a broader view of human development. It shows that in countries with a low GDP development is still occurring through advancements in health and/or education.
The 2010 HDR introduces three new measures that complement the HDI. The first is the Inequality-adjusted HDI. This measure shows that while general human development might be positive, there could be differences between different groups within the country. The second measure, the Gender Inequality Index (GII), looks at the development differences between men and women in each country. The final new measure is the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which looks at 10 indicators of poverty. If a household shows deprivation in more than three indicators, they are suffering from multidimensional poverty according to the MPI. I will provide a more detailed look at each of these measures in future blog posts.
To access the 2010 UN Human Development Report, click here.
To read about the 2010 UN Human Development Report in the New York Times, click here.