In 1990, the UN Development Programme published the first “Human Development Report,” which introduced an approach to human development rooted in the premise that improving the quality of human life requires more than economic growth. This approach is focused on people and their opportunities and choices, contending that economic measures such as GDP (gross domestic product) are inadequate proxies for development. Learn more about the development of this approach here.
In introducing this approach, the UNDP also introduced the Human Development Index (HDI) as a measure of achievement of human development across countries. The index is calculated as a value ranging from .000 to 1.000 globally, regionally, and by country, 1990 - current, using measures of life expectancy at birth, expected years of schooling, mean years of schooling, and GNI (gross national income) per capita. Companion indices have also been developed, including an Inequality-Adjusted HDI and a Planetary Pressures-Adjusted HDI that bring measures of inequality and environmental impact, respectively, into the calculation.
You’ll find these indexes in Data Planet, along with the metrics on which the calculations are based. The map below illustrates where nations fall on the HDI as of 2021. Any surprises? Note that you can export the data using the options to the upper right of the map. Use the right scroll bar to move below the map, where you'll find more detail on about the HDI and its calculation.