Friday, November 5, 2010

HDI Index

The UN recently released this years Human Development Index (HDI) Report measuring the quality of life in nations across the globe on terms of wealth, poverty, health and education. This index is used as part of the United Nations Development Program. The top five countries with the highest HDI are Norway (first for the eighth consecutive year), Australia, New Zealand, United States and Ireland. The five countries with the lowest HDI are all in Africa which is not surprising considering all that we have learned, and most are directly in our (Uganda) region. The lowest ranked countries are Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Niger, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Overall, the UNDP has seen progress: average life expectancy rose from 59 to 70 years, primary school enrollment rose from 55% to 70%, and per capita incomes doubled to $10,000. However one the most devastating findings in this report is the back-tracking that many countries did this year, which is blamed on the global economic crisis, the AIDS epidemic, and political and economic mismanagement. The HDI levels of Zambia, Mozambique and the DRC have fallen to their lowest point since the report started being conducted in 1970. For the countries that have seen the largest degrees of growth, they have pursued the Goals by different means. Some countries chose to focus on education and health reform, while others have pursued rapid economic growth at the cost of environmental sustainability. Good to note.

Comparing Norway to Zimbabwe for contrasting purposes, the two areas with the largest differences are as follows:
Life Expectancy: Norway 81
Zimbabwe 47
Per Capita Income: Norway $58,810
Zimbabwe $176

By brianna howell

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