What does the Human Development Index tell us?

The Human Development Index (HDI) was created to emphasize that expanding human choices should be the ultimate criteria for assessing development results. Economic growth is a means to that process but is not an end in itself. The HDI can also be used to question national policy choices, asking how two countries with the same level of Gross National Income (GNI) per capita can end up with different human development outcomes.

For example, Kuwait has GNI per capita more than two times higher than Croatia, but Croatia’s life expectancy at birth is three years longer, expecting years of schooling and mean years of schooling are longer one year and four years longer than in Kuwait, respectively, resulting in Croatia having a higher HDI value than Kuwait and being ranked 21 ranks higher. These contrasts can stimulate debate about government policy priorities.