What is the Human Development Index?
The Human Development Index – or simply, HDI – is an index used to rank countries based on human development. Human Development Index is scored using indicators including expectancy, per capita income, and education. Nations that rank higher on this index have a higher education level, a higher lifespan, and a higher gross national income per capita than nations with a lower score.
HDI is ranked on a scale from 0 to 1.0, with 1.0 being the highest human development. HDI is broken down into four tiers: very high human development (0.8-1.0), high human development (0.7-0.79), medium human development (0.55-.70), and low human development (below 0.55).
Most developed countries have an HDI score of 0.8 or above (in the very high human development tier). These countries have stable governments, widespread education, healthcare, high life expectancies, and growing, powerful economies.
The least developed countries (LDCs) in the world have HDI scores in the low human development tiers with HDI scores below 0.55. LDCs face unstable governments, widespread poverty, lack of access to healthcare, and poor education. Additionally, these countries have low income and low life expectancies, coupled with high birth rates. The HDI helps the United Nations determine which countries need assistance, specifically LDCs. The UN has held four conferences to assess LDCs and develop strategies to boost them out of the category.
The HDI was first launched in 1990 and has been released annually ever since, except 2012. The last report as of May 2019 was made available in September of 2018. The information in this article is based on that report.
The highest score on the HDI is 1.0. The top nation on this list is Norway, with a score of 0.954. Switzerland is in second place with a score of 0.946. Ireland ranks third with a score of 0.942. The least developed country globally with the lowest HDI is Niger, with an HDI of .377. Niger has widespread malnutrition, and 44.1% of people live below the poverty line.