An Inventory of Composite Measures of Human Progress

By Yang, Lin

Since the first Human Development Index (HDI) was published in 1990, a wealth of composite measures of human progress and well-being have been developed to varying degrees of acclaim and scrutiny. The range of authors has likewise been broad, including individuals as well as development research and policy analysis groups affiliated with international organisations, national governments, NGOs, civil societies, private consultancies and universities.

This comprehensive, though not exhaustive inventory details 101 composite measures of human well-being and progress mainly put forward since the first HDI, covering a broad range of concepts and construction methodologies. Themes range from happiness-adjusted income to environmentally-adjusted income, from child development to information and communication technology (ICT) development. The hope is that the inventory will provide a useful reference point for those wishing to find out more about the availability of existing composite measures focused on human development, their construction methodologies, limitations, and scope of impact. These measures can then be used with greater understanding for further research and analysis, and even for the development of new and better informed indices.