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2014 Human Development Report focuses on Vulnerability

Geoff Riley

24th July 2014

Each year the Human Development Report published by the United Nations gives a special focus on a particular issue related to development. In 2014 that issue is vulnerability.To quote from the opening of the report:"Real progress on human development, then, is not only a matter of enlarging people's critical choices and their ability to be educated, be healthy, have a reasonable standard of living and feel safe. It is also a matter of how secure these achievements are and whether conditions are sufficient for sustained human development. An account of progress in human development is incomplete without exploring and assessing vulnerability."

Overall HDI rankings for 2014

The rankings remain unchanged at both ends of the HDI. Norway, Australia, Switzerland, Netherlands and United States remain in the lead for another year, while Sierra Leone, Chad, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Niger continue to rank bottom of the list

Income adjusted HDI

  • The IHDI, calculated for 145 countries, shows that the lowest levels of inequality are to be found in Norway, Finland, and Czech Republic.
  • When ranked by the IHDI, some countries rank lower than when ranked by the HDI.
  • In United States, Gross National Income (GNI) per capita is higher than in Canada. But when the GNI is adjusted for inequality, the reverse becomes true. Similarly, Botswana, Brazil and Chile have large adjustments to GNI per capita due to high inequality.

Gender inequality adjusted HDI

The new Gender Development Index (GDI), which for the first time measures the gender gap in human development achievements for 148 countries, reveals that in 16 of them (Argentina, Barbados, Belarus, Estonia, Finland, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Mongolia, Poland, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Ukraine and Uruguay), female HDI values are equal or higher than those for males. For some of these countries, this may be attributed to higher female educational achievement; for others, to a significantly longer female life expectancy - over five years longer than that of males.

Afghanistan, where the human development index for females is only 60 percent of that for males, is the most unequal country.

Worldwide, female HDI values are eight percent lower than those for males, with large variations between countries. However, the GDI shows that the disparity between genders in the estimated gross national income per capita is very high: per capita income for men at the global level is more than double that for women.

Links to follow for the HDI report and relevant data

To read a summary of the Human Development Report for 2014 please use this link:

The full report can be found here:

The data sets will be available here:

Geoff Riley

Geoff Riley FRSA has been teaching Economics for over thirty years. He has over twenty years experience as Head of Economics at leading schools. He writes extensively and is a contributor and presenter on CPD conferences in the UK and overseas.

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