Human Development Index

What you should know about this indicator

  • Each of the dimensions of the HDI is measured with four indicators: a long and healthy life is measured by life expectancy at birth, good education (knowledge) is measured by two indicators, expected and mean years of schooling; and a decent standard of living is measured by Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, logarithmized to reflect that incomes become less important as they increase.
  • The index is then calculated by normalizing and aggregating 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; expected years of schooling between 0 and 18 years; mean years of schooling, between 0 and 15 years; and GNI per capita between 100 and 75,000 international-$ at 2017 prices.
  • The HDI is then estimated as the geometric mean of these indices, or HDI = (Health index * Education index * Income index)^(1/3). The education index is the arithmetic mean (average) of the mean years of schooling and expected years of schooling.

The Human Development Index (HDI) is a summary measure of average achievement in key dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, being knowledgeable and having a decent standard of living. The HDI is the geometric mean of normalized indices for each of the three dimensions.

The health dimension is assessed by life expectancy at birth, the education dimension is measured by mean of years of schooling for adults aged 25 years and more and expected years of schooling for children of school entering age. The standard of living dimension is measured by gross national income per capita. The HDI uses the logarithm of income, to reflect the diminishing importance of income with increasing GNI. The scores for the three HDI dimension indices are then aggregated into a composite index using geometric mean. Refer to Technical notes for more details.

The HDI can be used to question national policy choices, asking how two countries with the same level of GNI per capita can end up with different human development outcomes. These contrasts can stimulate debate about government policy priorities.

The HDI simplifies and captures only part of what human development entails. It does not reflect on inequalities, poverty, human security, empowerment, etc. The HDRO provides other composite indices as broader proxy on some of the key issues of human development, inequality, gender disparity and poverty.

A fuller picture of a country's level of human development requires analysis of other indicators and information presented in the HDR statistical annex.

Human Development Index
The HDI is a summary measure of key dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, a good education, and a decent standard of living. Higher values indicate higher human development.
UNDP, Human Development Report (2024) – with minor processing by Our World in Data
Last updated
April 9, 2024
Next expected update
April 2025
Date range

Sources and processing

This data is based on the following sources

The 2023/24 Human Development Report assesses the dangerous gridlock resulting from uneven development progress, intensifying inequality, and escalating political polarization, that we must urgently tackle. The report emphasizes how global interdependence is being reconfigured and proposes a path forward where multilateralism plays a pivotal role.

Additional resources related to the 2023/2024 Human Development Report can be found online at Resources on the website include digital versions and translations of the Report and the overview in multiple languages, an interactive web version of the Report, a set of background papers and think pieces commissioned for the Report, interactive data visualizations and databases of human development indicators, full explanations of the sources and methodologies used in the Report’s composite indices, country insights and other background materials, and previous global, regional and national Human Development Reports. Corrections and addenda are also available online.

Technical notes (region definitions, reports, etc.) can be found at

Retrieved on
April 9, 2024
Retrieved from
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.
UNDP (United Nations Development Programme). 2024. Human Development Report 2023-24: Breaking the gridlock: Reimagining cooperation in a polarized world. New York.

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“Data Page: 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 UNDP, Human Development Report. Retrieved from [online resource]
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UNDP, Human Development Report (2024) – with minor processing by Our World in Data

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UNDP, Human Development Report (2024) – with minor processing by Our World in Data. “Human Development Index” [dataset]. UNDP, Human Development Report, “Human Development Report 2023-2024” [original data]. Retrieved July 14, 2024 from