HDI Rankings – Description

The objective of the Human Development Index, or H.D.I., is to try to measure the level of development of countries, but not simply to their economic weight measured by the gross domestic product (G.D.P.) or GDP per capita. It therefore integrates more qualitative data. It is an indicator that synthesizes (it is called composite or synthetic indicator) three sets of data:

  • Health / longevity (measured by life expectancy at birth), which indirectly measures the satisfaction of essential material needs such as access to a healthy diet, safe drinking water, decent housing, good hygiene and medical care.
  • Knowledge or level of education. It is measured by the average length of schooling for adults over 25 and the expected length of schooling for school-aged children. It reflects the satisfaction of intangible needs such as the ability to participate in decision-making in the workplace or in society.
  • The standard of living (logarithm of gross income per capita in purchasing power parity), to encompass elements of quality of life that are not described by the first two indices such as mobility or access to Culture.

The HDI is calculated by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). It is presented as a number without a unit between 0 and 1. More the HDI is closer to 1, the higher the level of development of the country. The calculation of the HDI allows the establishment of an annual ranking of countries.

Between 2015 and 2018, the world’s HDI rose from 0.717 to 0.731.

ContinentHDI 2018
Very high human development0.892
High human development0.750
Medium human development0.634
Low human development0.507
Developing countries0.686
Sub-Saharan Africa0.541
Arab States0.703
East Asia and the Pacific0.741
South Asia0.642
Latin America and the Caribbean0.759
Europe and Central Asia0.779
Least developed countries0.528
Small island developing states0.723
Organisation for Economic Co‑operation and Development (OECD)0.895