Human Development Index - HDI

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DEFINITION of 'Human Development Index - HDI'

A tool developed by the United Nations to measure and rank countries' levels of social and economic development based on four criteria: Life expectancy at birth, mean years of schooling, expected years of schooling and gross national income per capita. The HDI makes it possible to track changes in development levels over time and to compare development levels in different countries.

BREAKING DOWN 'Human Development Index - HDI'

In 2010, the index ranked Norway, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Ireland at the top of its list for "very high human development." The countries that fell at the bottom of its "low human development" list were Mozambique, Burundi, Niger, Congo and Zimbabwe. The index also shows that countries with lots of income do not always spend that money in ways that create high life expectancies or education levels.

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