TOP-20 largest economies by the Human Development Index

ranking 24/10/2019

When identifying the level of social and economic development at international comparison of the countries, the universal indicator of GDP per capita is used. However, it is not always accurate. There are countries with low GDP per capita, and high life expectancy.

For example, life expectancy at birth in Cuba is 79,1 years, when in the USA it is 77,8 years. Cuba has high level of available medicine and education. Therefore, the wealth of the country does not always determine the quality of life of its inhabitants.

In this regard, Human Development Index as more objective indicator was developed.

Human Development Index (HDI) is a statistic composite index annually calculated under the United Nations Development Program. It is based on the following parameters: life expectancy at birth, duration of education and gross national income (GNI) per capita at purchasing power parity (PPP).
The index takes the values from 0 to 1 and ranks countries and their territories by four groups: countries with very high human development level (HDI exceeds 0,8), countries with high human development level (HDI from 0,7 to 0,8), countries with average human development level (HDI from 0,55 to 0,7), and countries with low human development level (HDI below 0,55).

In comparison for 2018, Russia’s HDI is 0,816, which corresponds to the very high human development level. In TOP-20 largest economies, our country is ranked 11th by HDI. Germany is the leader in this regard: at GNI (PPP) almost equal to the Russia’s one, Germany’s HDI is 0,936 (see Table 1).

Table 1. TOP-20 largest economies ranked by decrease of HDI
Rank Country Human Development Index in 2018 GNI (PPP), trillion dollars, 2019 Rank by GNI
1 Germany VERY HIGH 0,936 4 444 5
2 Canada 0,926 1 900 16
3 USA 0,924 21 439 2
4 Great Britain 0,922 3 131 9
5 Japan 0,909 5 747 4
6 Republic of Korea 0,903 2 320 14
7 France 0,901 3 061 10
8 Spain 0,891 1 941 15
9 Italy 0,880 2 443 12
10 Saudi Arabia 0,8533 1 899 17
11 Russia 0,816 4 349 6
12 Iran HIGH 0,798 1 471 18
13 Turkey 0,791 2 347 13
14 Mexico 0,774 2 628 11
15 Brazil 0,759 3 456 8
16 Thailand 0,755 1 383 20
17 China 0,752 27 309 1
18 Egypt AVERAGE 0,696 1 391 19
19 Indonesia 0,694 3 737 7
20 India 0,640 11 326 3

Source: International Monetary Fund, Human development report (UN), calculations by Credinform

Being the largest economy, China is ranked the 17th and is inferior to Russia and most of TOP-20 participants by HDI.

Despite being the third largest economy, India closes the ranking. The country have a long way to increase wellbeing of inhabitants and introduction of mass education.

Picture 1 demonstrates the dependence of GNI (PPP) on HDI.

Picture 1. TOP-20 largest economies by HDI Picture 1. TOP-20 largest economies by HDI

The presented ranking method is being criticized because of formal approach and small number of indicators for calculation. It bears remembering the difference in access to data, while income level, education and life expectancy are one of the most universal indicators describing the societal development.