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Explain how HDI is determined.

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Introduction

(a) Explain how HDI is determined (5) The HDI is one of many methods of determining human development, first introduced by the United Nations Program. It does not only focus on a country's economic wealth instead it looks at social, cultural and welfare criteria in a order to determine a country's quality of life. HDI is calculated by using three factors chosen by the UN. These can be seen below: 1. Average life expectancy 2. Adult literacy rate 3. Income (GDP per capita) These three indicators are combined and a rank is calculated from the highest (1.0) to the lowest (0) HDI. For example Canada which has the highest HDI of 0.961 has the highest GDP of US$21,916. The adult literacy rate and average life expectancy would also be high compared to Ethiopia which has an HDI of 0.252, this is because there are better medical facilities and schools as the country can afford to meet the needs of the population. However in Ethiopia the GDP per capita is only US$455 (more that ten times lower than Canada's). As a result the life expectancy, adult literacy and income rates are very low due to the inadequacy of nutrition, health and medical care. ...read more.

Middle

In order to measure development by using Seers method, data on poverty, unemployment and inequality has to be obtained. This would be quite easy to do in Britain whereas in many Third World countries getting hold of data on poverty, unemployment and inequality would be challenging as they do not have the finance or the expertise to gather large amounts of data. For example in Britain they have a population census every ten years, however in Third World countries they are less regular e.g. Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, a population census was not carried out for nearly 40 years between 1952 and 1991. Therefore without regular monitoring of data it is very difficult to plan ahead for social and welfare criteria such as schools and medical facilities. Another problem in comparing development between different countries is that they would have different opinions on what is meant by the terms poverty, unemployment and inequality and as a result different governments would use different criteria to define these. For example Britain might consider income levels, number of children receiving free school meals and need for government assistance in health care and income as a sign of poverty. ...read more.

Conclusion

The best social indicator is the human development index as it is a combination of adult literacy and years of schooling, life expectancy and GDP per person. The HDI was developed by the UN and extends the definition of development. Since its introduction in 1990 the HDI is recognized as a valuable tool which draws attention to important issues quite effectively. Nevertheless, although the HDI measures overall progress in a country in achieving human development, based on the three criteria its weakness is it does not show differences between rural and urban areas, between different regions or different genders. Another major criticism of the HDI is that it contains no measure of human rights or freedom, as it is difficult to measure compared to measuring the economic development within a country. It can be deduced that although social and economic indicators do have their relative merits, they have many weaknesses. Generally, it can be said that economic indicators measures the wealth of the country but gives little indication of the standard of living of the majority of people. Social indicators may seem to be better indicators because they reveal the general standard of living in a country; however they do not reflect inequalities in income distribution. They also don't take into account constant review as definitions and concepts of the term development change. ...read more.

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