Human Development Reports


The Human Development Report (HDR) is an independent report commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It is the product of a selected team of leading scholars, development practitioners and members of the Human Development Report Office (HDRO) of UNDP. It was first launched in 1990 in part as a result of growing criticism to the leading development approach of the 1980s, which presumed a close link between national economic growth and the expansion of individual human choices. The goal of the HDR was to put people back at the center of the development process in terms of economic debate, policy and advocacy, by going beyond income to assess the level of people’s long-term well-being.


Human Development Reports

Human Development Reports


Human Development Reports


Excel, PDF, Interactive tables




194 countries and territories

Last reviewed


Data types and sources

The sources for the data used in the HDR are often specialized agencies of the United Nations system, such as WHO, UNESCO, ILO, UNICEF, in addition to partnering with many national and international statistical agencies.

Data download

Human Development Reports


The four main Human Development Indices developed by the Human Development Report are:

  • HDI - Human Development Index (HDI) measures the average achievements in a country in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, knowledge and a decent standard of living.
  • The Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI) adjusts the Human Development Index (HDI) for inequality in distribution of each dimension across the population. The IHDI accounts for inequalities in HDI dimensions by “discounting” each dimension’s average value according to its level of inequality. The IHDI equals the HDI when there is no inequality across people but is less than the HDI as inequality rises. In this sense, the IHDI is the actual level of human development (accounting for this inequality), while the HDI can be viewed as an index of “potential” human development (or the maximum level of HDI) that could be achieved if there was no inequality.
  • The Gender Inequality Index (GII) reflects women’s disadvantage in three dimensions—reproductive health, empowerment and the labour market—for as many countries as data of reasonable quality allow. The index shows the loss in human development due to inequality between female and male achievements in these dimensions. It ranges from 0, which indicates that women and men fare equally, to 1, which indicates that women fare as poorly as possible in all measured dimensions.
  • The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) identifies multiple deprivations at the individual level in health, education and standard of living. It uses micro data from household surveys, and—unlike the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index—all the indicators needed to construct the measure must come from the same survey. Each person in a given household is classified as poor or nonpoor depending on the number of deprivations his or her household experiences. These data are then aggregated into the national measure of poverty.

In addition to these basic indicators the main topic of the report changes each year. The 2011 report deals with sustainability (Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All).

Geographical coverage

The HDI is calculated for 194 countries and areas for which data are available.

Time coverage and updates

The first report was released in 1990. The 2011 version of the report contains data from 1980 and onwards.


The calculations of the different indices are documented in the written report. In addition the website refers to selected background readings on methodology and measurement.

Access conditions and cost

Available free of charge.

Access procedures

In addition to the predefined tabels in the report, the website provides various interactive statistical tools.

Data formats

Excel, PDF, On-screen tables. In addition the website provides various online tools that transform the data behind the concept of Human Development into intuitive visual presentations.

Comparability and data quality

The HDR has high standards of data quality, consistency, transparency and accountability. By using specialized agencies of the United Nations system and major national and international statistical agencies, the published data is of high quality and relevance. In addition, a Senior Statistical Advisor reviews all the work of the Human Development Report Office. This process is supplemented by consultations with a standing Statistical Advisory Panel (SAP).

Nonetheless, as the HDR states itself, several data gaps and quality issues remain. These include issues of inconsistency and incoherence between international data series and the timing of data revisions by different agencies. These issues are discussed in several selected writings on issues of statistical methodology, which are available for download on the website.