Some countries are making great strides in human development, others less so
SINCE 1980 the country that has made the greatest strides in improving human development is Nepal, according to the UN’s annual Human Development Index (HDI). The index is a combination of three sub-indices covering wealth, health and education. The countries whose HDI has improved the most since 1980 are mainly in Asia. China and India have been helped by rapid GDP growth, but even slower-growing countries such as Nepal and Bangladesh have fostered human development by making progress in health and education. The countries where HDI has improved the least are mainly in Africa, with Zimbabwe at the bottom of the pile.
For the first time this year the UN's report also considers the unevenness in the distribution of wealth, health and education among a country’s people to produce a new inequality-adjusted HDI (IHDI) which penalises countries according to the inequality of their development. This reduces countries' 2010 HDI scores by 22% on average. China's HDI is reduced by 23% and India's by 30%, which suggests that the former's rapid development has been the more equitable