Visualizing Human Development Index 2013


Visualization description

This visualization has three interconnected parts each answering a key question.


What is the level of human development of a country and what is the impact of inequality?

Human Development Index (HDI) level of each country is colour-coded. Countries in the same region share the same colour family but the colour grows darker as HDI decreases. In the information window, the bars represent values of HDI, life expectancy index, education index and GNI index. The striped area is the loss due to inequality on each index.

Population chart

How is the world population distributed in terms of human development?

Countries are assigned into four groups: low, medium, high and very high human development. But an important question is how the world population is distributed into these four groups. In the population chart, HDI increases from left to right. Every person in the chart represents 5 million people. Countries with a population less than 5 million are represented by one icon, while countries for which there is no HDI data are represented in grey on the left side of the box.

Line charts

What progress have countries made over the last three decades?

The charts show what progress countries have made in terms of HDI and its components (life expectancy, expected years of schooling and GNI per capita) since 1980. The colours of countries are the same as they appeared on the map.

About human development indices

Human Development Index

The Human Development Report is published every year since 1990. It looks at countries’ development beyond economic performance as measured by HDI. This single statistic summarizes a country’s achievements along three key dimensions of human development. The HDI is the geometric mean of normalized indices for each of the three dimensions:

  1. Long and healthy life assessed by life expectancy at birth, using a minimum value of 20 years and maximum value of 85 years.
  2. Being knowledgeable measured by mean of years of schooling for adults aged 25 years and expected years of schooling for children of school entering age. The indicators are normalized using a minimum value of zero and maximum aspirational values of 15 and 18 years, respectively. The two indices are combined into an education index using arithmetic mean.
  3. A decent standard of living measured by gross national income per capita. The goalpost for minimum income is $100 (PPP) and the maximum is $75,000 (PPP). The HDI uses the logarithm of income to reflect the diminishing importance of income with increasing GNI.

Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index

Large disparities within countries in the three dimensions increase the vulnerability of the marginalized groups. Therefore, the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI) takes into account not only the average achievements of a country on health, education and income, but also how those achievements are distributed among its population by adjusting average value of each dimension according to its level of inequality.

Human development classification

HDI classification is based on fixed cut-off points, which are derived from the quartiles of distributions of component indicators. The cut-off points are:

  1. less than 0.550 for low human development
  2. 0.550–0.699 for medium human development
  3. 0.700–0.799 for high human development
  4. 0.800 or greater for human development

Data sources

About us

This is a collective work of Katalin Bokor, Xuan Che, InKyung Choi, Malgorzata Cwiek and Peter Njagi of African Centre for Statistics, Economic Commission for Africa.