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Components of Human Development Index (HDI)

V S Narendranath Reddy (375)


The main components used to calculate the HDI of countries belong to the three dimensions
of Health, Education and Standard of Living. The indicators used to individually determine
the index of each dimension are as follows:
1. Health Life Expectancy (Minimum and Maximum)
2. Education Expected and Mean Years of Schooling (Minimum and Maximum)
3. Standard of Living Gross National Income (GNI) per capita
The life expectancy indicator gives a measure as to how many years a person living in a said
country can be expected to live; expected and mean years of schooling gives a measure of the
level of education and the corresponding population in each level of education in a country
and GNI per capita gives a measure of how much income each person in the country on an
average is earning. All the indicators have minimum and maximum values referred to as
natural zeros and aspirational goals from which they are standardized.
HDI = (IHealth . IEducation . IIncome)1/3
All the countries are ranked based upon the calculation of HDI based on the above mentioned
method. However, these ranks do not directly showcase any individual aspect of the countries
for example, a country with a very high life expectancy index and low values in other
indices will achieve a similar rank to that of a country with all three indices at an average
level. By using this method, the human development can at best be only an estimate and
accurate analysis cannot be done. In the recent years, some of the other factors are also being
considered in calculating HDI such as the inequality adjustment, gender development, etc.
Given that there is a need for standardization whenever ranking is involved, I feel that many
other factors should be taken into account while doing the calculations. Some of the factors
are the time frame of calculations, status of natural resources in the country, political
awareness of the population and penetration of the technology and respective infrastructure.
Countries that have achieved independence very recently obviously will have an unstable
foundation to build upon and at the same time may also be severely lacking in natural
resources due to the exploitation of the occupying country, prime example being India for the
latter category. At the same time, political awareness of the population will play a major role
in ensuring that the politicians and leaders fulfil their duties responsibly and distributing the
benefits according to the requirement thus reducing the inequality in a country. While some
may argue that Education index already takes into account this factor, looking at it from
ground level perspective majority of the educated population have zero political knowledge

Components of Human Development Index (HDI)


V S Narendranath Reddy (375)
in some of the developing and developed countries, which can be observed from the low
voter turnout for elections in a country. Technology today is playing such a major role in the
lifestyle of people that it cannot be compared to a decade back. As such, I feel that a separate
factor need to be developed to account for the penetration of technology.
The above mentioned factors are not exhaustive in nature and are only suggestions based on
secondary research. As Streetsen (1994:232) mentioned the concept of human development
is much deeper and richer than what can be caught in any index or set of indicators.

References
Human Development Report 2015
Technical Notes of HDR 2015
http://www.globalpolitics.cz/clanky/human-development-index-how-to-cope-with-itslimitations