Human Development Index- HDI

According to the United Nation’s Development Programme (UNDP), human development may be defined as “a process of enlarging people’s choices.”

Three dimensions of Human Development are capabilities of people to lead a long and healthy life, to acquire knowledge and to have access to resources needed for a decent standard of living.

The combined effect of various components of human development is measured through Human Development Index (HDI).

The HDI contains four variables:

[1] life expectancy at birth, to represent the dimension of a long,

[2] healthy life;

[3] adult literacy rate and combined enrolment rate at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels to represent the knowledge dimension; and

[4] real GDP per capita to serve as a proxy for the resources needed for a decent standard of living.

HDI thus looks not only at GDP growth rate but takes into account education, health, gender inequality and income parameters to measure human development of a country.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) published its first Human Development Report (HDR) in 1990.

The report had a human development index (HDI) which was the first attempt to define and measure the levels of development.

The ‘index’ was a product of selected team of leading scholars, members of the Human Development Report office of the UNDP.

The first such team which developed the HDI was led by Mehabub Ul Haq and Inge Kaul.


Human development classification—

HDI classifications are based on HDI fixed cut-off points.

The cut-off points of HDI are—

[1] less than 0.550 for low human development,

[2] 0.550–0.699 for medium human development,

[3] 0.700–0.799 for high human development and

[4] 0.800 or greater for very high human development.