Human Development Index (2021-22) – UPSC Notes

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has recently published its Human Development Index (HDI) report for 2021-22. HDI is a simple composite measure of a country’s longevity, education, and income and is widely accepted in development discourse. It is a statistical tool used to measure a country’s overall achievement in its social and economic dimensions. India ranks 132 out of 191 countries in the Human Development Index 2021-22.

Overview of HDI 2021-22

Published byUnited Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Top Five Countries1. Switzerland
2. Norway
3. Iceland
4. Hong Kong
5. Australia
India’s Rank132nd position

About HDI 2021-22

The UNDP released the Human Development Index 2022 on 8 September 2022 and calculated HDI values based on data collected in 2021. The theme for HDI 2021-22 is “Uncertain Times, Unsettled Lives: Shaping our Future in a Transforming World“.

HDI is published by the Human Development Reports Office of the United National Development Programme (UNDP). ‘Human Development Reports Office’ computes the HDI for around 191 countries and territories.

Human Development Index (HDI) was first launched in 1990 by Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq and had the explicit purpose “to shift the focus od development economies from national income accounting to the people-centred policies”. The index was created to emphasize that people and their capabilities should be the ultimate criteria for assessing the development of a country, not economic growth alone.

The index considers the education, health, and income in a given country to provide a measure of Human Development that is comparable between countries over time.

The Human Development Report also reports the HDI for several groups of countries, which include regional groupings based on the UNDP regional classifications, OECD members, and various other UN groupings.

Dimensions and Indicators

The Human Development Index is a summary measure of average achievements in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, being knowledgeable, and having a decent standard of living. HDI is the geometric mean of normalized indices for each of the three dimensions.

The health dimension is assessed by life expectancy at birth. The education dimension is measured by means of years of schooling for adults aged 25 years and more and expected years of schooling for children entering age. The standard of living dimension is measured by gross national income per capita. The scores of the three HDI dimension indices are then aggregated into a composite index using a geometric mean.

DimensionsIndicatorsDimension Index
Long and healthy lifeLife expectancy at birth (Sustainable Development Goal 3)Life Expectancy Index
Knowledge• Expected years of schooling (Sustainable Development Goal 4.3).

• Mean year of schooling (Sustainable Development Goal 4.4).
Education Index
A decent standard of livingGross National Income (GNI) per capita (PPP $) (Sustainable Development Goal 8.5)GNI Index

HDI simplifies and captures only part of what human development entails. It does not reflect on inequalities, human security, poverty, empowerment, etc.

Key Highlights of HDI 2021-22

90% of the countries have shown a decline in their Human Development Index value in 2020 or 2021.

A large contributor to the HDI’s recent decline is a global drop in life expectancy, down from 72.8 years in 2019 to 71.4 years in 2021.

European nations were among the best overall performers, with as many as 8 in the top 10 of the ranking list.

Top performer countries

RankCountryHDI value
4Hong Kong0.952

Botton performer countries

RankCountryHDI value
191South Sudan0.385
188Central African Republic0.404

Performance of India

India’s rank on the Human Development Index has slipped from 130 in 2020 to 132 in 2021-22. The decline in the country’s performance from its previous level was an account of a drop in life expectancy.

  • HDI value: India’s HDI value stood at 0.633 in 2021, which was lower than the world average of 0.732.
  • Life Expectancy: In 2021, India’s life expectancy at birth was recorded at 67.2 years. The decline in India’s HDI value can be primarily attributed to falling life expectancy from 69.7 years in 2020 to 67.2 years in 2021.
  • Access to knowledge: The expected years of schooling in India is 11.9 years and the mean year of schooling is 6.7 years.
  • Gross National Income: The gross national income per capita stood at USD 6,590.

India’s Neighbouring countries

RankCountryHDI value
73Sri Lanka0.782

Source: Human Development Reports (UNDP)

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