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Human Development Index (HDI) - What is it? What can it tell me? Have your say - Poll Included

Updated on October 6, 2014

What is it?

Have you ever wondered where you can find a list of all of the countries in the world, created in an impartial way, that shows how good of a country a certain place is when everything is taken into account? The Human Development Index (HDI) is a ranking system that is updated yearly, and began in 1990. It ranks countries in order of human development, including life expectancy, education, and average income, Literacy and just about everything that is important regarding a standard of living. There are four basic tiers into which countries are separated Very high, High, Medium and Low. There is also a numerical statistic which ranks countries regarding their development between 0.000 and 1.000. The latest HDI index places Norway at the top with the highest score of 0.943. There are only a handful of countries that are not counted due to the unavailability of statistics due to War, political unrest or other.

We can see through the photos, that looks can be deceiving, but the point of the HDI is to examine the quality of life for people, in every respect, and from my travels, I find it to be very accurate. Forget about the media, racial prejudice and even what people from a certain country say about their own home. Who knows! Maybe they have high standards. maybe they don't travel enough to understand what challenges other individuals face, or maybe the media fill us so full of spin, that it is difficult for us to know what is true anymore. Look at the list below with an open mind.

Oslo, Norway
Oslo, Norway | Source

Very High Human development.

1 Norway 0.943

2.Australia 0.929

3 Netherlands 0.910

4 United States 0.910

5 New Zealand

6 Canada 0.908

7 Ireland 0.908

8 Liechtenstein 0.905

9 Germany 0.905

10 Sweden 0.904

11 Switzerland 0.903

12 Japan 0.901

13 Hong Kong 0.898

14 Iceland 0.898

15 South Korea 0.897

16 Denmark 0.895

17 Israel 0.888

18 Belgium 0.886

19 Austria 0.885

20 France 0.884

21 Slovenia 0.884

22 Finland 0.882

23 Spain 0.878

24 Italy 0.874

25 Luxembourg 0.867

26 Singapore 0.866

27 Czech Republic 0.865

28 United Kingdom 0.863

29 Greece 0.861

30 United Arab Emirates 0.846

31 Cyprus 0.840

32 Andorra 0.838

33 Brunei 0.838

34 Estonia 0.835

35 Slovakia 0.834

36 Malta 0.832

37 Qatar 0.831

38 Hungary 0.816

39 Poland 0.813

40 Lithuania 0.810

41 Portugal 0.809

42 Bahrain 0.806

43 Latvia 0.805

44 Chile 0.805

45 Argentina 0.797

46 Croatia 0.796

47 Barbados 0.793

Montevideo, Uruguay
Montevideo, Uruguay | Source

High Human Development

48 Uruguay 0.783

49 Palau 0.782

50 Romania 0.781

51 Cuba 0.776

52 Seychelles 0.773

53 Bahamas 0.771

54 Montenegro 0.771

55 Bulgaria 0.771

56 Saudi Arabia 0.770

57 Mexico 0.770

58 Panama 0.768

59 Serbia 0.766

60 Antigua and Barbuda 0.764

61 Malaysia 0.761

62 Trinidad and Tobago 0.760

63 Kuwait 0.760

64 Libya 0.760

65 Belarus 0.756

66 Russia 0.755

67 Grenada 0.748

68 Kazakhstan 0.745

69 Costa Rica 0.744

70 Albania 0.739

71 Lebanon 0.739

72 Saint Kitts and Nevis 0.735

73 Venezuela 0.735

74 Bosnia and Herzegovina 0.733

75 Georgia 0.733

76 Azerbaijan 0.731

77 Ukraine 0.729

78 Mauritius 0.728

79 Macedonia 0.728

80 Jamaica 0.727

81 Peru 0.725

82 Dominica 0.724

83 Saint Lucia 0.723

84 Ecuador 0.720

85 Brazil 0.718

86 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 0.717

87 Armenia 0.716

88 Colombia 0.710

89 Iran 0.707

90 Oman 0.705

91 Tonga 0.704

92 Turkey 0.699

93 Belize 0.699

94 Tunisia 0.698

Amman, Jordan
Amman, Jordan | Source


95 Jordan 0.698

96 Algeria 0.698

97 Sri Lanka 0.691

98 Dominican Republic 0.689

99 Samoa 0.688

100 Fiji 0.688

101 China 0.687

102 Turkmenistan 0.686

103 Thailand 0.682

104 Suriname 0.680

105 El Salvador 0.674

106 Gabon 0.674

107 Paraguay 0.665

108 Bolivia 0.663

109 Maldives 0.661

110 Mongolia 0.653

111 Moldova 0.649.

112 Philippines 0.644

113 Egypt 0.644

114 Palestinian territories 0.641

115 Uzbekistan 0.641

116 Federated States of Micronesia 0.636

117 Guyana 0.633

118 Botswana 0.633

119 Syria 0.632

120 Namibia 0.625

121 Honduras 0.625

122 Kiritabi 0.624

123 South Africa 0.619

124 Indonesia 0.617

125 Vanuatu 0.617

126 Kyrgyzstan 0.615

127 Tajikistan 0.607

128 Vietnam 0.593

129 Nicaragua 0.589

130 Morocco 0.582

131 Guatemala 0.574

132 Iraq 0.573

133 Cape Verde 0.568

134 India 0.547

135 Ghana 0.541

136 Equatorial Guinea 0.537

137 Congo 0.533

138 Laos 0.524

139 Cambodia 0.523

140 Swaziland 0.522

141 Bhutan 0.522

Nairobi, Kenya
Nairobi, Kenya | Source


142 Solomon Islands 0.510

143 Kenya 0.509

144 São Tomé and Príncipe 0.509

145 Pakistan 0.504

146 Bangladesh 0.500

147 Timor-Leste 0.495

148 Angola 0.486

149 Burma 0.483

150 Cameroon 0.482

151 Madagascar 0.480

152 Tanzania 0.466

153 Papua New Guinea 0.466

154 Yemen 0.462

155 Senegal 0.459

156 Nigeria 0.459

157 Nepal 0.458

158 Haiti 0.454

159 Mauritania 0.453

160 Lesotho 0.450

161 Uganda 0.446 0.00

162 Togo 0.435

163 Comoros 0.433

164 Zambia 0.430

165 Djibouti 0.430

166 Rwanda 0.429

167 Benin 0.427

168 Gambia 0.420

169 Sudan 0.408

170 Côte d'Ivoire 0.400

171 Malawi 0.400

172 Afghanistan 0.398

173 Zimbabwe 0.376

174 Ethiopia 0.363

175 Mali 0.359

176 Guinea-Bissau 0.353

177 Eritrea 0.349

178 Guinea 0.344

179 Central African Republic 0.343

180 Sierra Leone 0.336

181 Burkina Faso 0.331

182 Liberia 0.329

183 Chad 0.328

184 Mozambique 0.322

185 Burundi 0.316

186 Niger 0.295

187 Democratic Republic of the Congo 0.286

Do you find the HDI to be an accurate portrayal of the quality of living in a country?

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Do you find that your country is accurately portrayed within the HDI index?

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Do you think that peoples opinion of the Human Development Index is skewed by the standing of their Country within it?

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Now, look at Question one and Question two. Isn't it odd how the majority of people find the HDI accurate, except in relation to THEIR country.

See results


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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I di'dnt know where to find this info then kaboom it was here.

    • cfin profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from The World we live in

      @agusfanani, unfortunately most of the higher countries got to the top by spending money they didn't have. They are now cutting their educational budgets which should be the last thing to be cut. I look forward to a more balanced world, where education is given precedent in every country. Your statement is very true. Thank you for the comments.

    • agusfanani profile image


      5 years ago from Indonesia

      It must be very pleasant to live in a country with high Human Development Index and I think countries should prioritize education development to reach such level of index.

    • pramodgokhale profile image


      5 years ago from Pune( India)


      In a list , some nations like Saudi Arabia , Pakistan

      ok I accommodate diffrences of opinion.

      thank you once again

      pramod gokhale

    • cfin profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from The World we live in

      @ pramodgokhale, What fundamentalist regimes are mentioned high up the ranks? I do not see any who are in the Very High HDI segment.

    • cfin profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from The World we live in

      Hi Pramodgokhale ,

      This index was created by Mahbub ul Haq. A Pakistani who studied in India and Amartya Sen, an Indian economist. India was on there recently as I took notice due to the fact that I have Indian relatives. but I have not yet had the time to update the entire list and I will do so today. Half of the countries are still missing after the latest update.

      This is not an index created by the western powers. It is monitored by the UN. I do agree though that many other Ranking systems, especially for University rankings, are skewed and falsified. In this case, though, I believe this list to be accurate, taking into account poverty levels, education, standard of living and other.

    • pramodgokhale profile image


      5 years ago from Pune( India)


      To my surprise i didn't find India in any ranking.Please explain me later.

      Yes HDI is an indicator to gauge strength of a nation with some parameters.Western nations and their surveys are sometimes biased but then also i take it as a study material and used to monitor my country's development.

      The region wise there are differences to measure HDI , in your list some Fundamentalists states and crude dictatorial regimes are mentioned .

      I think my comment may be insufficient to express my views

      thank you

    • cfin profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from The World we live in

      @ billy. Yes and every country has its weakness, eg, Irelands ridiculous unemployment rate, the USA has its health service issues and China with its questionable political freedoms. It's all balanced quite well. Whenever I hear about someone moving somewhere, I always take a look at the website I provided in the link to give me a non biased direct comparison. I am often surprised by the quality of certain areas in certain countries, having been fed rubbish by the media my entire life.

      A lot of Irish people go to Australia when the graduated for a few years. Mostly because they have a low unemployment rate and ....ahem..... It doesn't rain all the time there ;)

    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 

      5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      efin, great explanation: it's one's expectations that relate to the happiness index. Meanwhile, the Human Development Index relates to actual development and opportunities, i.e., for jobs, educations, etc.

    • cfin profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from The World we live in

      Very true Billy. I'm from Ireland for example, and since the economy dropped, people never stop complaining and don't know what they have got still. They are not happy at all, but still have a very high HDI. I just believe HDI is a better indicator, because if for example a person from the US moved to France they would have a different happiness level than the locals. Some people just have a way higher level of expectation and are spoiled. Thus, they will never be happy. I know live in Wisconsin which probably has the same HDI than Ireland, but I'm not happy here and want to move home. So you can see the difference! It's fascinating.

    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 

      5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks for showing us the scale. This development scale is different than the happiness scale.

      It's fascinating to see Australia above Sweden and France. The self-report surveys show that people in France respond the highest on the happiness scale. If my memory serves me well, people in the U.S. score much lower when asked questions about their general happiness. I think the difference is that in France be set aside more time for their families. People in the U.S. set aside more time work than in any industrialized nation.


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