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Human development focuses on development of humans and their progress. The objective of development is to create an enabling environment for people to enjoy long, healthy and creative lives (Mahbub, founder of HDI reports). It looks at the overall output regarding health, standards of living and level of education of a country or nation. Human development also touches on factors such as political, social and gender issues of a country. On the other hand, Human development Index (HDI) is a measure of the development of a country in regards to education, income and health (UNDP c, 2013). These are the three dimensions of human development and are most significant data to consider in HDI statistics.
History of HDI
The first Human development Index report tabulation was in 1990 by founder the late Mahbub ul Haq (UNDP c, 2013). Its aim was to create an overview of national, regional and local human developments. However, “its initial idea was the single goal of putting people back at the center of the development process in terms of economic debate, policy and advocacy”(UNDP b, 2013). It helps decision makers make decisions concerning human development as well as their order of priorities.
Measurement of HDI
The three dimensions of Human development contribute to the measuring of HDI. Education is a measure of the mean of school years for 25-year-old adults and that of children of school entering age. Calculation of health is through comparing life expectancy of an infant at birth, and the maximum number of years he can attain with good health. An average calculation of the two data values is done, and there is the presentation of a mean life expectancy age. HDI calculates the income of a country by calculating income per capita of a place while considering distribution of wealth resources. Achievement of the final mean is through tabulation of the whole values of different parts of a country and finding an average. Aggregation of the three HDI dimension indices is done into a composite index using geometric mean. The values are between zero (0) and one (1) and one (1) being the highest record (UNDP b, 2013).
Difference between HDI and GDP per capita
HDI gets its mean value from three dimensions by getting the aggregate mean, while GDP gets its value by adding gross values with product taxes and subtracting them with subsidies excluded from the products. HDI measures human development using various components such as education and health, while GDP focuses only on income. They calculate the income of various residents in the country and subtract it with subsidies in the products. In addition, HDI considers the difference between wealth resources in various parts of the country, where GDP ignores it. Wealth distribution is uneven in various parts of a country and GDP calculates the wealth of a country without considering the unevenness in it. It only looks at the total income of a country and divides it by the human population with income present (UNDP b, 2013).
HDI for Canada
According to UNDP (a), 2013 national data statistics, the HDI records for Canada show substantial improvement over the last twenty years (The Human Development Index). They were in the first report of HDI and had an HDI for 0.825 and in 2012; they had a record of 0.991. In 2012, they rank at11 out of 187 countries in the comparable data. They have shown a growth of 0.5% annually throughout the years and only have missed twice in the rankings, in 1985 and 1995. They are above the average regional level by having 0.888 in 2012. Their three dimensions of human development are all above average. Health leads by having a 0.986, Education 0.908 and Income having 0.866. On health, the life expectancy of a Canadian is 81.1years - a few years less than the maximum life expectancy in the world of 86.3 years. Basing on the other dimension of Education, the mean years of schooling for adults is 12.3 years and for income, it is $35369 PPP. This shows significant decisions regarding placing health as a priority in the country (UNDP a, 2013).
Disadvantages of HDI
HDI as a measure of human development has weaknesses. It does not show the relative importance of its different components or show why an index of a country changes over time. It leaves speculation of what might be the causes of these changes (UNDP b, 2013). In case education level of a country reduces, one might speculate it to be due to changes in adult literacy or due to changes to the amount of income.
HDI data reveals many significant factors that lead to human development. They help a nation make decisions basing on the data collection and provide an overall Human Development (Human development report, 2013). The three dimensions of HDI lead to a human being to have the long, healthy and creative lives that were its main purpose.