Final dates! Join the tutor2u subject teams in London for a day of exam technique and revision at the cinema. Learn more

Study Notes

4.3.1 Measures of Development (Edexcel)


Last updated 6 Oct 2023

This study note for Edexcel covers Measures of Development

A) The Three Dimensions of the Human Development Index (HDI):

  1. Health (Life Expectancy):
    • Measurement: HDI assesses health through life expectancy at birth, which represents the average number of years a person is expected to live.
    • Longer life expectancy indicates better health outcomes.
  2. Education (Education Index):
    • Measurement: The education dimension consists of two indicators:
      • Mean Years of Schooling: Average years of education received by adults aged 25 and older.
      • Expected Years of Schooling: The number of years a child entering school is expected to complete.
    • These indicators reflect access to and quality of education.
  3. Living Standards (Income per Capita):
    • Measurement: HDI uses Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP), to account for cost of living differences.
    • A higher GNI per capita represents a higher standard of living.

Combining Dimensions:

  • Each of the three dimensions is measured on a scale from 0 to 1, with 1 being the highest achievement.
  • The HDI combines these values by taking the geometric mean of the three indices (health, education, and living standards).
  • The formula ensures that no single dimension dominates the HDI, giving each equal importance.

B) Advantages and Limitations of Using the HDI:


  1. Holistic Measure: HDI provides a comprehensive view of development by considering health, education, and living standards.
  2. Simplicity: The HDI is easy to understand and calculate, making it accessible for policymakers and the public.
  3. Global Comparisons: It allows for comparisons between countries and over time, highlighting trends in human development.
  4. Policy Guidance: HDI can guide policymakers in identifying areas of development that require attention.


  1. Limited Indicators: HDI does not include all dimensions of development, such as environmental sustainability, gender equality, or income distribution.
  2. Data Quality: HDI relies on data accuracy, which may be lacking in some countries, leading to potential inaccuracies.
  3. Weighting Issues: Equal weighting of dimensions may not accurately reflect a country's development priorities.
  4. Regional Differences: HDI masks disparities within countries, as it presents an average for the entire nation.
  5. Inequality: It does not consider income or education inequality, potentially overlooking disparities within countries.

C) Other Indicators of Development:

  1. Gini Coefficient: Measures income inequality within a country, indicating the distribution of wealth among its citizens.
  2. Gender Inequality Index (GII): Evaluates gender disparities in health, education, and economic participation, highlighting gender-based inequalities.
  3. Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI): Considers factors such as health, education, and living standards to assess poverty and deprivation in multiple dimensions.
  4. Environmental Sustainability Indicators: Evaluate a country's impact on the environment, including carbon emissions, natural resource depletion, and pollution.
  5. Human Poverty Index (HPI): Focuses on severe deprivation in health, education, and standard of living, emphasizing the most disadvantaged populations.
  6. Social Progress Index (SPI): Measures various aspects of well-being, including basic human needs, foundations of well-being, and opportunity.

In summary, the Human Development Index (HDI) provides a valuable framework for assessing development, but it is not without limitations. To gain a more complete understanding of development, policymakers and analysts often consider a combination of indicators, taking into account various dimensions of well-being and sustainability.

Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, are a set of 17 interconnected global objectives established by the United Nations (UN) in September 2015. These goals were adopted by all 193 UN member states as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The primary aim of the SDGs is to address a wide range of global challenges and promote sustainable development across social, economic, and environmental dimensions. The SDGs build upon the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) but are more comprehensive and inclusive. Here are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals:

  1. No Poverty: End poverty in all its forms everywhere.
  2. Zero Hunger: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.
  3. Good Health and Well-being: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
  4. Quality Education: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
  5. Gender Equality: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
  6. Clean Water and Sanitation: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
  7. Affordable and Clean Energy: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all.
  8. Decent Work and Economic Growth: Promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.
  9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation.
  10. Reduced Inequality: Reduce inequality within and among countries.
  11. Sustainable Cities and Communities: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.
  12. Responsible Consumption and Production: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
  13. Climate Action: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
  14. Life Below Water: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development.
  15. Life on Land: Protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
  16. Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels.
  17. Partnerships for the Goals: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

Each goal is accompanied by specific targets (a total of 169) that provide detailed guidance on what needs to be achieved. The SDGs are designed to be universally applicable and are meant to be achieved by 2030. They serve as a framework for governments, organizations, businesses, and individuals to work collectively toward a more sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future for people and the planet.

© 2002-2024 Tutor2u Limited. Company Reg no: 04489574. VAT reg no 816865400.