2010 Human Development Report
The 2010 Human Development Report—The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development —showed through a detailed new analysis of long-term Human Development Index (HDI) trends that most developing countries made dramatic yet often underestimated progress in health, education and basic living standards in recent decades, with many of the poorest countries posting the greatest gains.
Yet patterns of achievement vary greatly, with some countries losing ground since 1970, the 2010 Human Development Report shows. Introducing three new indices, the 20th anniversary edition of the Report documented wide inequalities within and among countries, deep disparities between women and men on a wide range of development indicators, and the prevalence of extreme multidimensional poverty in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The new report also included a change in the methodology used to calculate the indexes using better statistical methods, as well as new parameters for judging the growth and development.
The first Human Development Report introduced its pioneering HDI and analyzed previous decades of development indicators, concluding that “there is no automatic link between economic growth and human progress.” The 2010 Report’s rigorous review of longer-term trends—looking back at HDI indicators for most countries from 1970—showed there is no consistent correlation between national economic performance and achievement in the non-income HDI areas of health and education.
Overall, as shown in the Report’s analysis of all countries for which complete HDI data are available for the past 40 years, life expectancy climbed from 59 years in 1970 to 70 in 2010, school enrollment rose from just 55 percent of all primary and secondary school-age children to 70 percent, and per capita GDP doubled to more than US$10,000. People in all regions shared in this progress, though to varying degrees. Life expectancy, for example, rose by 18 years in the Arab states between 1970 and 2010, compared to eight years in sub-Saharan Africa. The 135 countries studied include 92 percent of the world’s population.
The “Top 10 Movers” highlighted in the 2010 Report—those countries among the 135 that improved most in HDI terms over the past 40 years—were led by Oman, which invested energy earnings over the decades in education and public health.
The other nine “Top Movers” are China, Nepal, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Laos, Tunisia, South Korea, Algeria and Morocco. Remarkably, China was the only country that made the “Top 10” list due solely to income performance; the main drivers of HDI achievement were in health and education. The next 10 leaders in HDI improvement over the past 40 years include several low-income but high HID-achieving countries “not typically described as success stories,” the Report notes, among them Ethiopia (#11), Cambodia (#15) and Benin (#18)—all of which made big gains in education and public health.
The 2010 Human Development Report continued the HDI tradition of measurement innovation by introducing new indices that address crucial development factors not directly reflected in the HDI: • The Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI): The 2010 Report examined HDI data through the lens of inequality, adjusting HDI achievements to reflect disparities in income, health and education.
• The Gender Inequality Index (GII): The 2010 Report introduced a new measure of gender inequities, including maternal mortality rates and women’s representation in parliaments. The GII calculated national HDI losses from gender inequities, from the Netherlands (the most equal in GII terms) to Yemen (the least).
• The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI): The 2010 Report featured a new multidimensional poverty measure that complements income-based poverty assessments by looking at multiple factors at the household level, from basic living standards to access to schooling, clean water and health care. About 1.7 billion people—fully a third of the population in the 104 countries included in the MPI—are estimated to live in multidimensional poverty, more than the estimated 1.3 billion who live on $1.25 a day or less.
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