Human Development Report 2011

The Human Development Report (HDR) is an annual publication of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The report was first launched in 1990 by the Pakistani Economist Mahbub ul Haq and Indian Nobel laureate Amartya Sen. Its goal was to place people at the centre of the development process in terms of economic debate, policy and advocacy. Development was characterised by the provision of choices and freedoms resulting in widespread outcomes.

People are the real wealth of a nation

  • People are the real wealth of a nation,” was the opening line of the first report in 1990.

Independent Report

  • The United Nations General Assembly has formally recognized the Report as “an independent intellectual exercise” and “an important tool for raising awareness about human development around the world.” Human Development Report does NOT represent UN policy or UNDP Policy.
  • Human Development Report is an independent report, commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and is the product of a selected team of leading scholars, development practitioners and members of the Human Development Report Office of UNDP.
  • The Report depends on statistics from a wide array of UN and other multilateral agencies, but its analysis and conclusions are the product and responsibility of the Report’s authors alone.
  • Its editorial autonomy is protected by a special resolution of the General Assembly (A/RES/57/264), which recognizes the Human Development Report as “an independent intellectual exercise” and “an important tool for raising awareness about human development around the world.”


  • Report’s ultimate goal is to help advance human development. This means placing as much emphasis on health, education, and the expansion human freedoms and abilities as economic growth.

Title of 2011 Report:

  • The 2011 Report – “Equity and Sustainability: A Better Future for All” – addresses the integral links between long-term environmental protection and greater social equality.
  • The main message of the Report is that continuing human development progress must be both sustainable and equitable – or it will be neither.

Countries Covered

  • The 2011 HDI covers a record 187 countries and territories, 18 more than the 169 included in the 2010 HDI.
  • This major expansion of HDI coverage is the result of intensified efforts by the Human Development Report office to work with international data providers and national statistical agencies to obtain required development indicators for the HDI which had been unavailable for some countries in previous years.

Human Development Index

  • The Human Development Index (HDI) is a summary measure of human development. It measures the average achievements in a country in three basic dimensions of human development:
  1. A long and healthy life
  2. Access to knowledge
  3. A decent standard of living.

The HDI is the geometric mean of normalized indices measuring achievements in each dimension. They are shown in the following graphics:


How HDI is calculated?

  • There are two steps to calculating the HDI.
    • Step 1. Creating the dimension indices
    • Step 2. Aggregating the subindices to produce the Human Development Index

In the first step, the Minimum and maximum values (goalposts) are set in order to transform the indicators into indices between 0 and 1.

  • The maximums are the highest observed values in the time series (1980–2011). The minimum values can be appropriately conceived of as subsistence values.
  • The minimum values are set at 20 years for life expectancy, at 0 years for both education variables and at $100 for per capita gross national income (GNI).
  • The low value for income can be justified by the considerable amount of unmeasured subsistence and nonmarket production in economies close to the minimum, not captured in the official data. The following table shows the Goalposts for the Human Development Index in the 2011 report.

    Having defined the minimum and maximum values, the subindices are calculated as follows:

    Dimension Index =

    After that, the HDI is calculated as geometric mean of the three dimension indices.

    Example: The following calculation shows an example of Vietnam:

What is the Inequality-adjusted HDI (IHDI)?

  • The Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI) adjusts the Human Development Index (HDI) for inequality in distribution of each dimension across the population.
  • The IHDI accounts for inequalities in HDI dimensions by “discounting” each dimension’s average value according to its level of inequality.
  • The IHDI equals the HDI when there is no inequality across people but is less than the HDI as inequality rises. In this sense, the IHDI is the actual level of human development (accounting for this inequality), while the HDI can be viewed as an index of “potential” human development (or the maximum level of HDI) that could be achieved if there was no inequality.
  • The “loss” in potential human development due to inequality is given by the difference between the HDI and the IHDI and can be expressed as a percentage.

What is the Gender Inequality Index (GII)?

  • The Gender Inequality Index (GII) reflects women’s disadvantage in three dimensions—reproductive health, empowerment and the labour market—for as many countries as data of reasonable quality allow. The index shows the loss in human development due to inequality between female and male achievements in these dimensions.
  • It ranges from 0, which indicates that women and men fare equally, to 1, which indicates that women fare as poorly as possible in all measured dimensions.

What is the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI)?

  • The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) identifies multiple deprivations at the individual level in health, education and standard of living. It uses micro data from household surveys, and—unlike the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index—all the indicators needed to construct the measure must come from the same survey.
  • Each person in a given household is classified as poor or nonpoor depending on the number of deprivations his or her household experiences. These data are then aggregated into the national measure of poverty.

Top 10 Countries in Human Development Index 2011-11-26














 United States



 New Zealand

















Bottom 10 Countries with Lowest HDI








 Central African Republic



 Sierra Leone



 Burkina Faso


















 Democratic Republic of Congo


India’s Rank

  • India has been placed at 134th Place in the HDI 2011.
  • When inequality is factored in, it experiences a 30% drop in human development values, ranking 129th out of 146 countries.
  • India’s Gender Inequality Index (GII) worsened slightly between 2008 and 2011, and India now ranks 129 out of 146 countries on the GII, better only than Afghanistan in south Asia.

The Goalposts for calculation of HDI for India were as follows:

In the 2010 Human Development Report, prepared by UNDP, India had been ranked at 119 out of 169 countries. But the new report for 2011 says it is misleading to compare values and rankings with those of previously published reports, because the underlying data and methods have changed, as well as the number of countries included in the Human Development Index. India’s Human Development Index (HDI) value for 2011 was 0.547 positioning the country in the ‘medium human development category’. Neighbouring Pakistan was ranked at 145 (0.504) and Bangladesh at 146 (0.500) respectively in terms of HDI.