India’s HDI for 2014 is 0.609. But when value is discounted for inequality, HDI falls to 0.435, a loss of 28.6 percent

humanThe just-released United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP’s) “Human Development Report 2015: Work for Human Development” regrets relatively poor improvement of India in Human Development Index (HDI) vis-a-vis other developing countries. Excerpts from India’s country profile:

India’s Human Development Index value for 2014 is 0.609— which put the country in the medium human development category— positioning it at 130 out of 188 countries and territories. Between 1980 and 2014, India’s HDI value increased from 0.362 to 0.609, an increase of 68.1 percent or an average annual increase of about 1.54 percent.

Between 1980 and 2014, India’s life expectancy at birth increased by 14.1 years, mean years of schooling increased by 3.5 years and expected years of schooling increased by 5.3 years. India’s GNI per capita increased by about 338.0 percent between 1980 and 2014.

Assessing progress relative to other countries

Long-term progress can usefully be compared to other countries. For instance, during the period between 1980 and 2014 India, Pakistan and Bangladesh experienced different degrees of progress toward increasing their HDIs.

India’s 2014 HDI of 0.609 is below the average of 0.630 for countries in the medium human development group and above the average of 0.607 for countries in South Asia. From South Asia, countries which are close to India in 2014 HDI rank and to some extent in population size are Bangladesh and Pakistan, which have HDIs ranked 142 and 147 respectively.

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India’s HDI trends based on consistent time series data and new goalposts

Inequality-adjusted HDI (IHDI)

The HDI is an average measure of basic human development achievements in a country. Like all averages, the HDI masks inequality in the distribution of human development across the population at the country level. The 2010 HDR introduced the IHDI, which takes into account inequality in all three dimensions of the HDI by ‘discounting’ each dimension’s average value according to its level of inequality. The IHDI is basically the HDI discounted for inequalities. The ‘loss’ in human development due to inequality is given by the difference between the HDI and the IHDI, and can be expressed as a percentage. As the inequality in a country increases, the loss in human development also increases. We also present the coefficient of human inequality as a direct measure of inequality which is an unweighted average of inequalities in three dimensions.

India’s HDI for 2014 is 0.609. However, when the value is discounted for inequality, the HDI falls to 0.435, a loss of 28.6 percent due to inequality in the distribution of the HDI dimension indices. Bangladesh and Pakistan show losses due to inequality of 29.4 percent and 29.9 percent respectively. The average loss due to inequality for medium HDI countries is 25.8 percent and for South Asia it is 28.7 percent. The Human inequality coefficient for India is equal to 27.7 percent.

India’s IHDI for 2014 relative to selected countries and groups
India’s IHDI for 2014 relative to selected countries and groups

Gender Development Index (GDI)

In the 2014 HDR, HDRO introduced a new measure, the GDI, based on the sex-disaggregated Human Development Index, defined as a ratio of the female to the male HDI. The GDI measures gender inequalities in achievement in three basic dimensions of human development: health (measured by female and male life expectancy at birth), education (measured by female and male expected years of schooling for children and mean years for adults aged 25 years and older); and command over economic resources (measured by female and male estimated GNI per capita). Country groups are based on absolute deviation from gender parity in HDI. This means that the grouping takes into consideration inequality in favour of men or women equally.

The GDI is calculated for 161 countries. The 2014 female HDI value for India is 0.525 in contrast with 0.660 for males, resulting in a GDI value of 0.795. In comparison, GDI values for Bangladesh and Pakistan are 0.917 and 0.726 respectively.

The 2010 HDR introduced the GII, which reflects gender-based inequalities in three dimensions – reproductive health, empowerment, and economic activity. Reproductive health is measured by maternal mortality and adolescent birth rates; empowerment is measured by the share of parliamentary seats held by women and attainment in secondary and higher education by each gender; and economic activity is measured by the labour market participation rate for women and men. The GII can be interpreted as the loss in human development due to inequality between female and male achievements in the three GII dimensions.

India has a GII value of 0.563, ranking it 130 out of 155 countries in the 2014 index. In India, 12.2 percent of parliamentary seats are held by women, and 27.0 percent of adult women have reached at least a secondary level of education compared to 56.6 percent of their male counterparts. For every 100,000 livebirths, 190 women die from pregnancy related causes; and the adolescent birth rate is 32.8 births per 1,000 women of ages 15-19. Female participation in the labour market is 27.0 percent compared to 79.9 for men.

In comparison, Bangladesh and Pakistan are ranked at 111 and 121 respectively on this index.

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India’s GDI value and its components relative to selected countries and groups

Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI)

The 2010 HDR introduced the MPI, which identifies multiple deprivations in the same households in education, health and living standards. The education and health dimensions are each based on two indicators, while the standard of living dimension is based on six indicators. All of the indicators needed to construct the MPI for a household are taken from the same household survey. The indicators are weighted to create a deprivation score, and the deprivation scores are computed for each household in the survey. A deprivation score of 33.3 percent (one-third of the weighted indicators), is used to distinguish between the poor and nonpoor. If the household deprivation score is 33.3 percent or greater, the household (and everyone in it) is classified as multidimensionally poor. Households with a deprivation score greater than or equal to 20 percent but less than 33.3 percent are near multidimensional poverty. Finally, households with a deprivation score greater than or equal to 50 percent live in severe multidimensional poverty.

The most recent survey data that were publicly available for India’s MPI estimation refer to 2005/2006. In India 55.3 percent of the population (631,999 thousand people) are multidimensionally poor while an additional 18.2 percent live near multidimensional poverty (208,588 thousand people). The breadth of deprivation (intensity) in India, which is the average of deprivation scores experienced by people in multidimensional poverty, is 51.1 percent. The MPI, which is the share of the population that is multi- dimensionally poor, adjusted by the intensity of the deprivations, is 0.282. Bangladesh and Pakistan have MPIs of 0.237 and 0.237 respectively.

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The most recent MPI for India relative to selected countries

Income poverty only tells part of the story. The multidimensional poverty headcount is 31.7 percentage points higher than income poverty. This implies that individuals living above the income poverty line may still suffer deprivations in education, health and other living conditions. Table F also shows the percentage of India’s population that lives near multidimensional poverty and that lives in severe multidimensional poverty. The contributions of deprivations in each dimension to overall poverty complete a comprehensive picture of people living in multidimensional poverty in India. Figures for Bangladesh and Pakistan are also shown in the table for comparison.

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