Data

Augmented Human Development Index

What you should know about this indicator

  • Each of the dimensions of the AHDI is measured with four indicators: a long and healthy life is measured by life expectancy at birth, knowledge is measured by mean years of schooling; a decent standard of living is measured by GDP per capita, logarithmized to reflect that incomes become less important as they increase; and civil and political freedom is measured by Varieties of Democracy's Liberal democracy index.
  • The index is then calculated by normalizing the indicators. First, the indicators are brought onto the same scale, ranging from 0 to 1. This is done by setting minimum and maximum values for each indicator, and a country at or below the minimum value receiving a score of 0, and a country at or above the maximum value receiving a score of 1.
  • The minimum and maximum values for each indicator are defined as follows: Life expectancy at birth ranges between 20 and 85 years; mean years of schooling, between 0 and 15 years; GDP per capita between 100 and 47,000 international-$ at 1990 prices; and V-Dem's Liberal democracy index is already standardized between 0 and 1 (most democratic).
  • The AHDI is then estimated as the geometric mean of these indices, or AHDI = (Health index * Education index * Income index * Freedom index)^(1/4).

Human wellbeing is widely viewed as a multidimensional phenomenon, in which income is only one facet. Human development, originally defined as a process of enlarging people’s choices, namely, enjoying a healthy life, acquiring knowledge and achieving a decent standard of living, provides a multidimensional measure of wellbeing.

These achievements provide individuals with freedom to choose and the opportunity to lead their own lives. Thus, human development can be depicted as positive freedom by which individuals are granted access to resources, including property, that allow them to develop their personal potential.

In order to provide a synthetic measure of augmented human development, its different dimensions are expressed in index form,

  • life expectancy at birth as a proxy for a healthy life,
  • years of schooling as a proxy for access to knowledge,
  • liberal democracy as a proxy for freedom,
  • and discounted GDP per head as a surrogate for wellbeing dimensions other than education and health.

The indices for each dimension are, then, combined using equal weights into an index of human development.

In an attempt to reduce the substitutability between its different dimensions –namely, to avoid that a high achievement in one dimension linearly compensates for a low achievement in another–, the indices for each dimension are combined into a historical index of human development using a geometric average.

If we denote the non-linearly transformed values of life expectancy and education as LEB and EDU, LD to represent those of liberal democracy, and the adjusted per capita income as UNY, the historical index of human development can be expressed as,

AHDI = (LEB * EDU * LD * UNY)^(1/4)

Augmented Human Development Index
The AHDI seeks to give a historical perspective on human development, in four dimensions: healthy life, knowledge, a decent standard of living, and civil and political freedom.
Source
Leandro Prados de la Escosura (2021) – with minor processing by Our World in Data
Last updated
September 8, 2023
Next expected update
September 2026
Date range
1870–2020

Sources and processing

This data is based on the following sources

The economic historian Leandro Prados de la Escosura has calculated the AHDI over the last 150 years. He refers to it as the Augmented Human Development Index.

Dimensions of Augmented Human Development

In order to provide a synthetic measure of augmented human development, its different dimensions are expressed in index form,

  • life expectancy at birth as a proxy for a healthy life,
  • years of schooling as a proxy for access to knowledge,
  • liberal democracy as a proxy for freedom,
  • and discounted GDP per head as a surrogate for wellbeing dimensions other than education and health.

Life expectancy is defined as the average number of years of life which would remain for males and females reaching the ages specified if they continued to be subjected to the same mortality experienced in the year(s) to which these life expectancies refer.

Education attainment is measured by the average years of total schooling (primary, secondary, and tertiary) for the population aged 15 and over.

The Liberal Democracy Index combines the electoral democracy index and the liberal component index. The former incorporates indices of freedom of association, expression, suffrage, and clean elections. The latter includes indices of equality before the law and individual liberty, judicial constraints on the executive, and legislative constraints on the executive.

GDP per head is expressed in 1990 dollars adjusted for its purchasing power adjusted, that it, for the difference in price level across countries (the so-called Geary-Khamis [G-K] 1990 $).

Time and Spatial Coverage

Over the entire time span, 1870-2020, 115 countries are considered, and its number rises up to 121, 146, 161, and 162 countries for the samples starting in 1913, 1950, 1980, and 1990, respectively. These samples represent above 90 per cent of the world population (and practically 100 per cent after 1950).

Alert: measuring changes in the index

By how much did human development improve over the long run? Given the way in which the index has been computed, the conventional logarithmic rate of variation (as in the case of GDP per head) can be used.

Retrieved on
September 8, 2023
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
Prados de la Escosura, L. (2021), Augmented Human Development in the Age of Globalisation, Economic History Review.

The economic historian Leandro Prados de la Escosura has calculated the AHDI over the last 150 years. He refers to it as the Augmented Human Development Index.

Dimensions of Augmented Human Development

In order to provide a synthetic measure of augmented human development, its different dimensions are expressed in index form,

  • life expectancy at birth as a proxy for a healthy life,
  • years of schooling as a proxy for access to knowledge,
  • liberal democracy as a proxy for freedom,
  • and discounted GDP per head as a surrogate for wellbeing dimensions other than education and health.

Life expectancy is defined as the average number of years of life which would remain for males and females reaching the ages specified if they continued to be subjected to the same mortality experienced in the year(s) to which these life expectancies refer.

Education attainment is measured by the average years of total schooling (primary, secondary, and tertiary) for the population aged 15 and over.

The Liberal Democracy Index combines the electoral democracy index and the liberal component index. The former incorporates indices of freedom of association, expression, suffrage, and clean elections. The latter includes indices of equality before the law and individual liberty, judicial constraints on the executive, and legislative constraints on the executive.

GDP per head is expressed in 1990 dollars adjusted for its purchasing power adjusted, that it, for the difference in price level across countries (the so-called Geary-Khamis [G-K] 1990 $).

Time and Spatial Coverage

Over the entire time span, 1870-2020, 115 countries are considered, and its number rises up to 121, 146, 161, and 162 countries for the samples starting in 1913, 1950, 1980, and 1990, respectively. These samples represent above 90 per cent of the world population (and practically 100 per cent after 1950).

Alert: measuring changes in the index

By how much did human development improve over the long run? Given the way in which the index has been computed, the conventional logarithmic rate of variation (as in the case of GDP per head) can be used.

Retrieved on
September 8, 2023
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
Prados de la Escosura, L. (2021), Augmented Human Development in the Age of Globalisation, Economic History Review.

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All data and visualizations on Our World in Data rely on data sourced from one or several original data providers. Preparing this original data involves several processing steps. Depending on the data, this can include standardizing country names and world region definitions, converting units, calculating derived indicators such as per capita measures, as well as adding or adapting metadata such as the name or the description given to an indicator.

At the link below you can find a detailed description of the structure of our data pipeline, including links to all the code used to prepare data across Our World in Data.

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Citations

How to cite this page

To cite this page overall, including any descriptions, FAQs or explanations of the data authored by Our World in Data, please use the following citation:

“Data Page: Augmented Human Development Index”, part of the following publication: Bastian Herre and Pablo Arriagada (2023) - “The Human Development Index and related indices: what they are and what we can learn from them”. Data adapted from Leandro Prados de la Escosura. Retrieved from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/augmented-human-development-index [online resource]
How to cite this data

In-line citationIf you have limited space (e.g. in data visualizations), you can use this abbreviated in-line citation:

Leandro Prados de la Escosura (2021) – with minor processing by Our World in Data

Full citation

Leandro Prados de la Escosura (2021) – with minor processing by Our World in Data. “Augmented Human Development Index” [dataset]. Leandro Prados de la Escosura, “Augmented Human Development Index (AHDI) - Country data”; Leandro Prados de la Escosura, “Augmented Human Development Index (AHDI) - Regional data” [original data]. Retrieved July 12, 2024 from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/augmented-human-development-index