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France -- the "best place to live" – moved up three places to number 8.
By David at 10/05/2009 - 16:15


France -- which was not part of the top 10 last year – moved up three places to number 8. This year's index was based on data from 2007 and does not take into account the impact of the global economic crisis.
Afghanistan, which returns to the list for the first time since 1996, is the only Asian country among the bottom ten which also include Sierra Leone in the 180th spot, just below the Central African Republic.
The top ten countries listed on the index are: Norway, Australia, Iceland, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Switzerland and Japan.
The Human Development Index - going beyond income
Each year since 1990 the Human Development Report has published the human development index (HDI) which looks beyond GDP to a broader definition of well-being. The HDI provides a composite measure of three dimensions of human development: living a long and healthy life (measured by life expectancy), being educated (measured by adult literacy and gross enrolment in education) and having a decent standard of living (measured by purchasing power parity, PPP, income). The index is not in any sense a comprehensive measure of human development. It does not, for example, include important indicators such as gender or income inequality nor more difficult to measure concepts like respect for human rights and political freedoms. What it does provide is a broadened prism for viewing human progress and the complex relationship between income and well-being.
Of the components of the HDI, only income and gross enrolment are somewhat responsive to short term policy changes. For that reason, it is important to examine changes in the human development index over time. The human development index trends tell an important story in that respect. Between 1980 and 2007 France's HDI rose by 0.34% annually from 0.876 to 0.961 today. HDI scores in all regions have increased progressively over the years (Figure 1) although all have experienced periods of slower growth or even reversals.


Figure 1: HDI Trends


This year's HDI, which refers to 2007, highlights the very large gaps in well-being and life chances that continue to divide our increasingly interconnected world. The HDI for France is 0.961, which gives the country a rank of 8th out of 182 countries with data (Table 1).
Table 1: France’s human development index 2007
HDI value
Life expectancy at birth
Combined gross enrolment ratio
GDP per capita
1. Norway (0.971)
1. Japan (82.7)
1. Australia (114.2)
1. Liechtenstein (85,382)
6. Netherlands (0.964)
5. Australia (81.4)
13. Iceland (96.0)
23. Finland (34,526)
7. Sweden (0.963)
6. Italy (81.1)
14. Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (95.8)
24. Germany (34,401)
8. France (0.961)
7. France (81.0)
15. France (95.4)
25. France (33,674)
9. Switzerland (0.960)
8. Sweden (80.8)
16. Luxembourg (94.4)
26. Japan (33,632)
10. Japan (0.960)
9. Spain (80.7)
17. Belgium (94.3)
27. Spain (31,560)
182. Niger (0.340)
176. Afghanistan (43.6)
177. Djibouti (25.5)
181. Congo (Democratic Republic of the) (298)
By looking at some of the most fundamental aspects of people’s lives and opportunities the HDI provides a much more complete picture of a country's development than other indicators, such as GDP per capita. Figure 2 illustrates that countries on the same level of HDI can have very different levels of income or that countries with similar levels of income can have very different HDIs.
Building the capabilities of women
The HDI measures average achievements in a country, but it does not incorporate the degree of gender imbalance in these achievements. The gender-related development index (GDI), introduced in Human Development Report 1995, measures achievements in the same dimensions using the same indicators as the HDI but captures inequalities in achievement between women and men. It is simply the HDI adjusted downward for gender inequality. The greater the gender disparity in basic human development, the lower is a country's GDI relative to its HDI.
France's GDI value, 0.956 should be compared to its HDI value of 0.961. Its GDI value is 99.5% of its HDI value. Out of the 155 countries with both HDI and GDI values, 52 countries have a better ratio than France's.
Table 2 shows how France’s ratio of GDI to HDI compares to other countries, and also shows its values for selected underlying indicators in the calculation of the GDI.
Table 2: The GDI compared to the HDI – a measure of gender disparity
GDI as % of HDI
Life expectancy at birth


Combined primary, secondary and tertiary gross enrolment ratio


Female as % male
Female as % male
1. Mongolia (100.0%)
1. Russian Federation (121.7%)
1. Cuba (121.0%)
51. Finland (99.5%)
36. Guyana (109.2%)
57. Fiji (104.6%)
52. Armenia (99.5%)
37. Japan (109.1%)
58. Tuvalu (104.5%)
53. France (99.4%)
38. France (109.1%)
59. France (104.2%)
54. Tanzania (United Republic of) (99.4%)
39. Finland (108.9%)
60. Peru (104.1%)
55. Kenya (99.4%)
40. Tajikistan (108.9%)
61. Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) (104.0%)
155. Afghanistan (88.0%)
181. Swaziland (98.0%)
175. Afghanistan (55.6%)
The gender empowerment measure (GEM) reveals whether women take an active part in economic and political life. It tracks the share of seats in parliament held by women; of female legislators, senior officials and managers; and of female professional and technical workers- and the gender disparity in earned income, reflecting economic independence. Differing from the GDI, the GEM exposes inequality in opportunities in selected areas.
France ranks 17th out of 109 countries in the GEM, with a value of 0.779.
Every year, millions of people cross national or international borders seeking better living standards. Most migrants, internal and international, reap gains in the form of higher incomes, better access to education and health, and improved prospects for their children. Most of the world’s 195 million international migrants have moved from one developing country to another or between developed countries.
France has an emigration rate of 2.9%. The major continent of destination for migrants from France is Europe with 54.5% of emigrants living there.
Table 3: Emigrants
Origin of migrants
Emigration rate (%)
Major continent of destination for migrants
1. Antigua and Barbuda
20. Ireland
123. Sweden
125. Spain
129. France
145. Australia
172. United States
Latin America and the Caribbean
174. Japan
Northern America
181. Mongolia
Global aggregates
Northern America
Very high human development
The United States is host to nearly 40 million international migrants – more than any other country though as a share of total population it is Qatar which has the most migrants – more than 4 in every 5 people are migrants. In France, there are 6,478.6 thousand migrants which represent 10.6% of the total population.
Table 4: Immigrants
Destination of migrants
Immigrant stock (thousands)
Destination of migrants
Immigrants as a share of population (%) 2005
1. United States
1. Qatar
1. United States
4. Andorra
41. Spain
3. Germany
42. Netherlands
4. France
43. France
6. Canada
50. United Kingdom
8. United Kingdom
52. Greece
164. Liechtenstein
129. Japan
182. Vanuatu
182. China
Global aggregates
Very high human development
Very high human development
Remittances, which are usually sent to immediate family members who have stayed behind, are among the most direct benefits from migration; their benefits spread broadly into local economies. They also serve as foreign exchange earnings for the origin countries of migrants. However, remittances are unequally distributed. Of the total US$370 billion remitted in 2007, more than half went to countries in the medium human development category against less than one per cent to low human development countries. In 2007, US$13,746 million in remittances were sent to France. Average remittances per person were US$223, compared with the average for OECD of US$108. (See Table 5 for more details.)
Table 5: Remittances
Total remittance inflows

(US$ millions)
Remittances per capita

1. Luxembourg
1. Luxembourg
32. Switzerland
39. Spain
5. France
41. France
6. Spain
42. Greece
9. Germany
48. Australia
130. Iceland
134. United States
157. Burundi
157. Burundi
Global aggregates
Very high human development
Very high human development
France was mentioned in the Report in pages 28, 37, 38, 41, 42, 50, 53, 56, 58, 59, 81, 88, 91, 99, 101, 110, 114, 115, 116, 117, and 118.
The Human Development Index (HDI)
The first Human Development Report (1990) introduced a new way of measuring development by combining indicators of life expectancy, educational attainment and income into a composite human development index, the HDI (see box 1 below). The breakthrough for the HDI was the creation of a single statistic which was to serve as a frame of reference for both social and economic development. The HDI sets a minimum and a maximum for each dimension, called goalposts, and then shows where each country stands in relation to these goalposts, expressed as a value between 0 and 1.
The educational component of the HDI is comprised of adult literacy rates and the combined gross enrolment ratio for primary, secondary and tertiary schooling, weighted to give adult literacy more significance in the statistic. Since the minimum adult literacy rate is 0% and the maximum is 100%, the literacy component of knowledge for a country where the literacy rate is 75% would be 0.75, the statistic for combined gross enrolment is calculated in a analogous manner. The life expectancy component of the HDI is calculated using a minimum value for life expectancy of 25 years and maximum value of 85 years, so the longevity component for a country where life expectancy is 55 years would be 0.5. For the wealth component, the goalpost for minimum income is $100 (PPP) and the maximum is $40,000 (PPP). The HDI uses the logarithm of income, to reflect the diminishing importance of income with increasing GDP. The scores for the three HDI components are then averaged in an overall index. Refer to technical note 1 PDF Inline (GIF) Technical note 1 HDR 2007/2008 [5 680 KB] for more details.
The HDI facilitates instructive comparisons of the experiences within and between different countries.
The disaggregated HDI
One way the use of the human development index has been improved is through disaggregation. A country's overall index can conceal the fact that different groups within the country have very different levels of human development. Disaggregated HDIs are arrived at by using the data for the HDI components pertaining to each of the separate groups; treating each group as if it was a separate country. Such groups may be defined relative to income, geographical or administrative regions, urban/rural residence, gender and ethnicity. Using disaggregated HDIs at the national and sub-national levels helps highlight the significant disparities and gaps: among regions, between the sexes, between urban and rural areas and among ethnic groups. The analysis made possible by the use of the disaggregated HDIs should help guide policy and action to address gaps and inequalities.
Disparities may already be well known, but the HDI can reveal them even more starkly. Disaggregation by social group or region can also enable local community groups to press for more resources as well as to force accountability on local representatives, making the HDI a tool for participatory development.
Disaggregated HDIs have been used extensively for analysis since their inception, including: Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Gabon, Germany, India, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Poland, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine and USA. Recent National Human Development Reports in China and Kenya found wide provincial and urban/rural disparities while a similar study in Guatemala has shown that those disparities apply to ethnic groups as well.
For the Human Development Report 2006, an HDI disaggregated by income groups was calculated for 13 developing countries along with the United States and Finland. The study highlights the differences in human development between different income groups within the same country. Among the results, it was found that the richest 20% of the population in Bolivia had an HDI rank 97 positions higher than the poorest 20%. Likewise, in South Africa the top quintile ranks 101 positions above the lowest. Furthermore, the top quintile in the United States has an HDI value that exceeds all other countries for which the statistic was computed, while the poorest quintile ranks 49 positions lower. For more details on the methodology and a complete set of results see HDR 2006 technical note 2 PDF Inline (GIF) HDI by income group HDR 2006 [88 KB] and Grimm and others 2006 PDF Inline (GIF) A Human development index by income groups HDR 2006 [326 KB].
Country-specific HDIs
To reflect country-specific priorities and problems and to be more sensitive to a country's level of development, the HDI appearing in the global HDRs can be tailored so that additional components are included in the calculation. HDI adjustments should utilize the methods of weighting and normalization as the original HDI, making use of maximum and minimum values to create an index for the added component. In addition, indicator-specific weights can be tailored such that they reflect national policy priorities.
Additional adjustments to the HDI could involve expanding the breadth of existing component indices. For example, the life expectancy category could be adjusted to reflect under-five or maternal mortality rates; the income component could be adjusted to reflect unemployment, incidence of income poverty or the Gini-corrected mean national income; and finally the educational component can be adjusted to include the number of students enrolled in particularly important fields of study, such as the mathematics and sciences.
It is difficult to use the HDI to monitor changes in human development in the short-term because two of its components, namely life expectancy and adult literacy change slowly. To address this limitation, components that are more sensitive to short-term changes could be added to the national HDI. For example, the rate of employment, the percent of population with access to health services, or the daily caloric intake as a percentage of recommended intake could be used in place of the traditional indicators of the HDI.
Thus, the usefulness and versatility of the HDI as an analytical tool for HD at the national and sub-national levels would be enhanced if countries choose components that reflect their priorities and problems and are sensitive to their development levels, rather than rigidly using the three components presented in the HDI of the global HDRs.
As previously mentioned, when adjusting the HDI to reflect additional concerns, a commitment to data integrity and rigorous attention to statistical protocol should always be a concern of paramount importance.
Highlighting uneven development: comparing relative levels of HDI and per capita income
National wealth has the potential to expand people's choices. However, it may not. The manner in which countries spend their wealth, not the wealth itself, is decisive. Moreover, an excessive obsession with the creation of material wealth can obscure the ultimate objective of enriching human lives, distracting from the ultimate goal of enriching people's lives.
In many instances, countries with higher average incomes have higher average life expectancies, lower rates of infant and child mortality and higher literacy rates, and consequently a higher human development index (HDI). But these associations are far from perfect. In inter-country comparisons, income variations tend to explain not much more than half the variation in life expectancy, or in infant and child mortality. And they explain an even smaller part of the differences in adult literacy rates.
Although there is a definite correlation between material wealth and human well-being, it breaks down in far too many societies. Many countries have high GNP per capita, but low human development indicators and vice versa. While some countries at similar levels of GNP per capita have vastly different levels of human development. See the State of Human Development in HDR 2006 for a discussion PDF Inline (GIF) State of Human Development HDR 2006 [557 KB].
Given the imperfect nature of wealth as gauge of human development, the HDI offers a powerful alternative to GNP for measuring the relative socio-economic progress at national and sub-national levels. Comparing HDI and per capita income ranks of countries, regions or ethnic groups within countries highlights the relationship between their material wealth on the one hand and their human development on the other. A negative gap implies the potential of redirecting resources to Human Development.


by David on Mon, 10/05/2009 - 16:21


Statistics of the Human Development Report
Human Development Report 2009 - HDI rankings
Very high Human Development
   1. Norway
   2. Australia
   3. Iceland
   4. Canada
   5. Ireland
   6. Netherlands
   7. Sweden
   8. France
   9. Switzerland
 10. Japan
 11. Luxembourg
 12. Finland
 13. United States
 14. Austria
 15. Spain
 16. Denmark
 17. Belgium
 18. Italy
 19. Liechtenstein
 20. New Zealand
 21. United Kingdom
 22. Germany
 23. Singapore
 24. Hong Kong, China (SAR)
 25. Greece
 26. Korea (Republic of)
 27. Israel
 28. Andorra
 29. Slovenia
 30. Brunei Darussalam
 31. Kuwait
 32. Cyprus
 33. Qatar
 34. Portugal
 35. United Arab Emirates
 36. Czech Republic
 37. Barbados
 38. Malta
High Human Development
 39. Bahrain
 40. Estonia
 41. Poland
 42. Slovakia
 43. Hungary
 44. Chile
 45. Croatia
 46. Lithuania
 47. Antigua and Barbuda
 48. Latvia
 49. Argentina
 50. Uruguay
 51. Cuba
 52. Bahamas
 53. Mexico
 54. Costa Rica
 55. Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
 56. Oman
 57. Seychelles
 58. Venezuela (Bolivarian Rupublic of)
 59. Saudi Arabia
 60. Panama
 61. Bulgaria
 62. Saint Kitts and Nevis
 63. Romania
 64. Trinidad and Tobago
 65. Montenegro
 66. Malaysia
 67. Serbia
 68. Belarus
 69. Saint Lucia
 70. Albania
 71. Russian Federation
 72. Macedonia (the former Yugoslav Republic of)
 73. Dominica
 74. Grenada
 75. Brazil
 76. Bosnia and Herzegovina
 77. Colombia
 78. Peru
 79. Turkey
 80. Ecuador
 81. Mauritius
 82. Kazakhstan
 83. Lebanon
Medium Human Development
 84. Armenia
 85. Ukraine
 86. Azerbaijan
 87. Thailand
 88. Iran (Islamic Republic of)
 89. Georgia
 90. Dominican Republic
 91. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
 92. China
 93. Belize
 94. Samoa
 95. Maldives
 96. Jordan
 97. Suriname
 98. Tunisia
 99. Tonga
 100. Jamaica
 101. Paraguay
 102. Sri Lanka
 103. Gabon
 104. Algeria
 105. Philippines
 106. El Salvador
 107. Syrian Arab Republic
 108. Fiji
 109. Turkmenistan
 110. Occupied Palestinian Territories
 111. Indonesia
 112. Honduras
 113. Bolivia
 114. Guyana
 115. Mongolia
 116. Viet Nam
 117. Moldova
 118. Equatorial Guinea
 119. Uzbekistan
 120. Kyrgyzstan
 121. Cape Verde
 122. Guatemala
 123. Egypt
 124. Nicaragua
 125. Botswana
 126. Vanuatu
 127. Tajikistan
 128. Namibia
 129. South Africa
 130. Morocco
 131. São Tomé and Principe
 132. Bhutan
 133. Lao, People's Dem. Rep.
 134. India
 135. Solomon Islands
 136. Congo
 137. Cambodia
 138. Myanmar
 139. Comoros
 140. Yemen
 141. Pakistan
 142. Swaziland
 143. Angola
 144. Nepal
 145. Madagascar
 146. Bangladesh
 147. Kenya
 148. Papua New Guinea
 149. Haiti
 150. Sudan
 151. Tanzania, U. Rep. of
 152. Ghana
 153. Cameroon
 154. Mauritania
 155. Djibouti
 156. Lesotho
 157. Uganda
 158. Nigeria



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