Indicator of social development

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Indicator of social development
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Human Development Index - HDI - is a synthetic measure describing changes in the socio-economic development of individual countries. It is also described as an indicator of socio-economic development. This system was introduced by the United Nations to allow international comparisons. The index was developed in 1990 by the economist Mahbuba ul Haqa from Pakistani Pakistan. By developing this indicator, non-economic data, which were previously in the background when assessing the development of the countries concerned, played a more important role. Since 1993, he has been using it in his annual reports as part of the United Nations Program of the United Nations Development (UNDP). The HDI index in a much wider range than the GDP per capita index measures the real standard of living of people in the world. A more complete assessment of development is especially possible when other indicators recommended by the UNDP are analyzed with the HDI indicator, for example, individual areas (areas) of economic, social and demographic development, or data illustrating environmental pollution, personal security level (UNDP Report 2015, p. . 1). However, despite its high popularity, it is considered less credible than the Human Inheritance Rate.


To calculate the synthetic measure of HDI, measures are used that cover three spheres of life (health, education and income of the population). The following indicators are used to measure the HDI indicator:

  • average life length
  • general gross enrollment rate for all levels of education
  • reading literacy and writing skills, ie illiteracy rate

GDP per capita in USD calculated according to the purchasing parity of the currency (PPP $).

HDI scale

The HDI value ranges from 0 to 1. The results obtained through the use of the Social Development Index allow to group countries into three basic groups:

  • highly developed countries 0.8 - 1.0
  • middle-developed countries 0.5 - 0.8
  • underdeveloped countries 0.2- 0.5

The Social Development Index from 2015 includes 188 countries. In comparison to 2014, Poland has fallen by one position to 36th with the index equal to just Slovakia and Andorra. Lithuania and Malta are behind Poland. In the first place is invariably Norway, followed by Australia and Switzerland - these countries are among the most developed.

HDI restrictions

When calculating the social development index, there are many limitations and problems that may interfere with the actual level of the indicator. Such limitations include:

  • problems with scaling and weighting of indicators included in the HDI
  • lack of objective and accurately designated weights
  • barriers to acquiring authentic data
  • huge amount of data for verification.