Human Development Index in Portugal Evolution and Ranking of the HDI

Human Development Index in Portugal

Let's analyze and summarize, in a simple way, the United Nations report on the Human Development Index (HDI) in particular Portugal. We compared this Human Development Index between Portugal and some countries we selected, with the Evolution and Ranking of the HDI.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Some indicators are produced by various entities, such as the evolution of the progress and social development from the OECD or the Bloomberg report with the health indicators in the world or even the well-being and quality of life index from Pordata and OECD.

The Human Development Index – HDI, is released by the United Nations Development Program – UNDP and establishes a ranking among countries, based on a set of indicators.

The Human Development Index – HDI in Portugal and in the Countries We Selected

Let's analyze the 2021/2022 report produced by the United Nations and which gathers data up to 2021.

Measured annually, the HDI ranges from 0 to 1, and the higher, the more developed the country is.

This Human Development Report ranks, in 2021, the ten countries with the highest Human Development Index, in this order:

Ranking 2021: Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Hong Kong (China), Australia, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands.

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Compared to 2020, Switzerland rises 2 places from 3rd to 1st, Norway loses 1st and drops one place, Iceland rises from 5th to 3rd, Hong Kong maintains 4th position in the ranking and Sweden 7th, Australia rises 3 positions, Denmark rises 4, Ireland drops from 2nd to 8th, Germany drops from 6th to 9th. The Netherlands drops 1 position and is now in 10th place.

The US appears in 21st place, down four positions and Spain moves from 25th to 27th.

Portugal maintains the 38th position among the countries of “very high human development".

The range that determines this indicator as “very high” is between the values ​​of 1 and 0,800 of the HDI.

The Human Development Index also classifies countries as “high”, between 0,799 and 0,700, “medium”, between 0,699 and 0,550 and “low”, if it is less than 0,549.

The HDI in Portuguese Speaking Countries

Brazil is among the countries of “high human development”, according to the ranking of this United Nations report, in the 87th position, down 3 positions from 2020 (84th).

Classified as Countries with “average human development” Cape Verde ranks 128th, S. Tomé and Príncipe 138th, Timor-Leste 140st, Equatorial Guinea 145th and Angola 148th. 

Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique are among the countries of “low human development”, in positions 177th and 185st, respectively.

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The Indicators Used in the Human Development Index

Previously, human development was measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita.

However, it appears that a country can have this indicator very high and also have large social inequalities.

The UNDP considered indicators to determine the HDI, namely,

Longevity: Life Expectancy at Birth (79,0 years in OECD)

Education with two indicators: Expected Years of Schooling (16,5 years in OECD) and Average Years of Schooling (12,3 years in OECD)

income, with the Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, converted to purchasing power parity (PPP) terms to eliminate price differences across countries (US$45.087 OECD)

Human Development Index, Source: United Nations Report 2021-2022
OrderCountryHDI RankHuman Development Index (HDI)Life Expectancy at Birth (years)Expected Years of SchoolingAverage Years of SchoolingGross National Income per Capita (US$)
1Portugal380.8668116.99.633,155
2Norway20.96183.218.21364,660
3Germany90.94280.61714.154,534
4Sweden70.9478319.412.654,489
5USA210.92177.216.313.764,765
6Spain (España)270.9058317.910.638,354
7France280.90382.515.811.645,937
8Brazil870.75472.815.68.114,370
9OECD0.8997916.512.345,087
10World0.73271.412.88.616,752

Portugal has lower values ​​than the OECD, both in terms of average years of schooling and in gross national income per capita.

It should be noted that life expectancy in the US is lower than the OECD average, with a much higher Gross National Income per capita.

In many places around the world, inequality starts with life expectancy at birth. In OECD countries the average is 79,0 years and in the World the average is 71,4 years.

The country with the lowest human development index, South Sudan, has 55 years of life expectancy at birth. On the other hand, the 1st country in the HDI ranking, Switzerland has 84,0 years, Norway 83,2 and France 82,5 years of life expectancy.

Life expectancy in Portugal is 81,0 years.

The Inequality Adjusted Human Development Index

Despite progress, poverty, hunger, disease and social inequality remain a serious problem.

The UNDP created the “inequality-adjusted” Human Development Index that aims to measure the imbalance in income distribution.

Inequalities continue to occur in education, in the use of technologies, in climate change, in freedom and in the search for justice.

In this assessment, Portugal has an adjusted HDI of 0,773, which brings it down 4 positions in this ranking.

The Report also highlights indicators of wealth distribution among the population, the poorest 40%, the richest 10% and the richest 1%.

In Portugal, only 20,4% of the wealth produced reaches 40% of the poorest, with 9,6% of the wealth held by the very richest 1% and 26.0% of the wealth owned by the richest 10%.

Inequality; HDI Adjusted for Inequality Source: United Nations Report 2021-2022
OrderCountryHDI RankHuman Development Index (HDI)IDHAD Adjusted InequalityTotal loss %Rank difference40% Poorest (%)10% Richest (%)1% Much Richer (%)GINI coefficient
1Portugal380.8660.77310.7-420.426.09.632.8
2Norway20.9610.9085.5022.922.48.927.7
3Germany90.9420.8836.3120.825.112.831.7
4Sweden70.9470.8858.5021.922.710.529.3
5USA210.9210.81911.1-515.330.819.141.5
6Spain (España)270.9050.78812.9-1218.524.912.434.3
7France280.9030.8258.6220.926.79.832.4
8Brazil870.7540.57623.6-2013.239.425.748.9
9OECD0.8990.80011.017.728.816.2
10World0.7320.5919.418.129.917.4

The European country, from this sample that we selected, with the greatest wealth held by 1% of the very richest is Germany, with 12.8%

In the US, the very richest 1% of the population owns 19.1% of the country's wealth and in Brazil inequality is even greater with 25,7% of the wealth held by the very richest 1%.

The Gini coefficient, or Gini index, is an indicator of inequality in the distribution of income between people. It aims to synthesize in a single value the asymmetry of this distribution. It varies between 0 and 100.

The highest value of the Gini index among the countries we selected is Brazil with 48,9 and the lowest is Norway with 27,7.

Portugal stands at 32.8.

Gender Inequality Indicators

To assess gender inequality, the United Nations Report publishes the Gender Development Index, with the same HDI indicators, but by gender.

Thus, the Human Development Index in Portugal is 0,863 for women and 0,867 for men.

A smaller gap than exists in the OECD, making the Gender Development Index at 0,994, better than the OECD average of 0,985.

In Portugal, life expectancy at birth is 84,1 years for women and 77,8 for men, better than in the OECD.

As for income, there is a big difference, women with 28.713US$ and men with 38.127US$, a difference of 9.414US$, that is, 25%, but smaller than the average difference in the OECD, of 58%.

Human Development Index by Gender Source: United Nations Report 2021-2022
OrderCountryHDI RankHuman Development Index (HDI)Index Development by GenderFemale HDIMale HDILife Expectancy Birth Women (years)Life Expectancy Birth Men (years)Estimated GNI Women (US$)Estimated GNI Men (US$)
1Portugal380.8660.9940.8630.86784.177.828,71338,127
2Norway20.9610.9830.9500.96684.981.654,69974,445
3Germany90.9420.9780.9310.95283.278.146,15063,143
4Sweden70.9470.9880.9410.95284.981.149,58059,326
5USA210.9211.0010.9200.91980.274.351,53978,238
6Spain (España)270.9050.9860.8960.90985.880.231,21345,784
7France280.9030.9900.8980.90785.579.438,40353,988
8Brazil870.7540.9940.7500.75576.069.610,90317,960
9OECD0.8990.9850.8910.90582.076.135,11755,363
10World0.7320.9580.7150.74774.068.912,24121,210

Norway with a difference of 36% and Brazil with a difference of 65%

Let us now see the evolution of the HDI both in Portugal and in the countries we have selected and in the Lusophone countries, over the last 31 years, using the information contained in this United Nations Report.

The Evolution of the HDI of the Lusophone Countries

We attend to what happened in Portuguese-speaking countries, included in the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP).

Portugal, among the countries of “very high human development” has an HDI, in 1990, of 0,701 and reaches a value of 0,866 in 2021. It thus presented an average annual growth of 0,68% and rose 2 places in the HDI ranking between 2015 and 2021.

Brazil, among the countries of “high human development”, presents an HDI, in 1990, of 0,610 and reaches a value of 0,754 in 2021. It presented a growth of 0,69% and rose 1 place in the HDI ranking between 2015 and 2021.

Evolution of the Human Development Index in Lusophone Countries; Source: United Nations Report 2021-2022
OrderCountryHDI 1990HDI 2000HDI 2010HDI 2015HDI 2020HDI 2021HDI Rank Variation 2015-2021Average annual growth % HDI 1990-2021
1Portugal0.7010.7910.8290.850.8630.86620.68
2Brazil0.610.6790.7230.7530.7580.75410.69
3Cape Verde ---0.5690.6440.6630.6620.662-4 ---
4São Tomé and Principe0.4850.5010.5540.5960.6190.61840.78
5Timor Leste --- ---0.6190.6140.6140.607-4 ---
6Equatorial Guinea ---0.5120.5790.6030.5990.596-6 ---
7Angola ---0.3750.510.5820.590.586-3 ---
8Guinea Bissau --- ---0.4430.4720.4830.4832 ---
9Mozambique0.2380.3030.4020.440.4530.446-22.05
10OECD0.7950.840.8750.8930.8970.899 ---0.4
11World0.6010.6450.6970.7240.7350.732 ---0.64

Classified in the group of countries with “average human development” are:

Cape Verde dropped 4 positions in the ranking between 2015 and 2021.

S. Tomé and Príncipe rose 4 places, Timor-Leste fell 4 places, Equatorial Guinea fell 6 places and Angola fell 3 places.

Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique are among the countries of “low human development”. Guinea-Bissau between 2015 and 2021 rises 2 places in the ranking and Mozambique drops 2.

The Evolution of the HDI in the Countries We Selected

Between 1990 and 2021, the evolution of the HDI in Portugal had a trajectory in line with the growth of OECD countries.

In this period there was an average growth (1990-2021) of 0,68%, slightly above the average growth in the OECD (0,40%).

Portugal rose 2 positions in the HDI ranking between 2015 and 2021.

The biggest rise of the countries we compared was Brazil, which saw its HDI grow by 0,69% (2015-2021) and climbed 1 position in the ranking, a positive evolution of the HDI.

Germany, USA, France and Sweden saw their positions in the HDI ranking fall (2015-2021). Spain and Norway maintained their rankings and Brazil and Portugal rose 1 position.

HDI evolution from 1990 to 2021 for Portugal and selected countries; Source: United Nations Report 2021-2022
OrderCountryHDI 1990HDI 2000HDI 2010HDI 2015HDI 2020HDI 2021HDI Rank Variation 2015-2021Average annual growth % HDI 1990-2021
1Portugal0.7010.7910.8290.8500.8630.86620.68
2Norway0.8380.9130.9410.9530.9590.96100.44
3Germany0.8290.8890.9260.9380.9440.942-50.41
4Sweden0.8100.9040.9100.9370.9420.947-20.51
5USA0.8720.8910.9110.9200.9200.921-30.18
6Spain (España)0.7570.8250.8680.8890.8990.90500.58
7France0.7910.8440.8770.8920.8980.903-30.43
8Brazil0.6100.6790.7230.7530.7580.75410.69
9OECD0.7950.8400.8750.8930.8970.899 ---0.40
10World0.6010.6450.6970.7240.7350.732 ---0.64

Finally, a summary of the evolution, in graphic form.

The full report can be downloaded below.

United Nations HDI Report 2021-2022

United Nations Development Program Report, 2021-2022.

 
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