List of countries by Human Development Index
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) compiles the Human Development Index (HDI) of 189 nations in the annual Human Development Report. The index considers the health, education and income in a given country to provide a measure of human development which is comparable between countries and over time.
The HDI was first published in 1990 with the goal of being a more comprehensive measure of human development than purely economic measures such as gross domestic product. The index incorporates three dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, knowledge, and decent living standards. Various indicators are used to quantify how countries perform on each dimension. The indicators used in the 2020 report were life expectancy at birth; expected years of schooling for children; mean years of schooling for adults; and gross national income per capita. The indicators are used to create a health index, an education index and an income index, each with a value between 0 and 1. The geometric mean of the three indices—that is, the cube root of the product of the indices—is the human development index. A value above 0.800 is classified as very high, between 0.700 and 0.799 as high, 0.550 to 0.699 as medium, and below 0.550 as low.
The data used to calculate HDI comes mostly from United Nations agencies and international institutions, such as United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Rarely, when one of the indicators is missing, cross-country regression models are used. Due to improved data and methodology updates, HDI values are not comparable across human development reports; instead, each report recalculates the HDI for some previous years.
The HDI is the most widely used indicator of human development and changed how people view the concept. However, several aspects of the index have received criticism. Some scholars have criticized how the factors are weighed, in particular how an additional year of life expectancy is valued differently between countries; and the limited factors it considers, noting the omission of factors such as the levels of distributional and gender inequality. In response to the former, the UNDP introduced the inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI) in its 2010 report, and in response to the latter the Gender Development Index (GDI) was introduced in the 1995 report. Others have criticized the perceived oversimplification of using a single number per country. To reflect developmental differences within countries, a subnational HDI (SHDI) featuring data for more than 1,600 regions was introduced in 2018 by the Global Data Lab at Radboud University in the Netherlands. In 2020, the UNDP introduced another index, the planetary pressures–adjusted Human Development Index (PHDI), which decreases the scores of countries with a higher ecological footprint.