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). We compare the evolution and ranking of the HDI between Portugal and some selected countries.

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 published by the United Nations Development Program – UNDP and establishes a ranking among countries, based on a set of indicators.

The Human Development Index between Portugal and the Countries We Selected

Let's analyze the 2020 report produced by the United Nations and which gathers the data until 2019.

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

This Human Development Report ranks, in 2020, the ten countries with the highest Human Development Index, in this order:

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

In relation to 2019, Norway maintains the first position, Ireland rises one position to Switzerland, Germany drops 2 positions, being above Sweden which rises one position and is overtaken by Hong Kong and Iceland. Australia is down 1 places and the Netherlands is up 10 place. Denmark moves to XNUMXth place.

The USA appears in 17th, down two positions and Spain maintains the 25th position.

Portugal is in the 38th position, up 2 places, 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 84th position, down 5 positions from 2019 (79th).

Classified as Countries with “average human development” Cape Verde ranks 126th, S. Tomé and Príncipe 135th, Timor-Leste 141st, Equatorial Guinea 145th and Angola 148th. 

Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique are among the countries of “low human development”, in positions 175th and 181st, respectively.

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 great social inequalities.

The UNDP considered indicators to determine the HDI, namely,

Longevity: Life Expectancy at Birth (80,4 years in the OECD)

Education with two indicators: Expected Years of Schooling (16,3 years in the OECD) and Average Years of Schooling (12,0 years in the OECD)

income, with the Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, converted into purchasing power parity (PPP) terms to eliminate price differences between countries (US$44.967 in the OECD)

Table 1. Human Development Index - HDI; Source: United Nations Report 2020.
CountryHDI RankHuman Development Index (HDI)Life Expectancy at Birth (years)Expected Years of SchoolingAverage Years of SchoolingGross National Income per Capita (US$)
Spain (España)250.90483.617.610.340,975

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 parts of the world, inequality starts with life expectancy at birth. In OECD countries it is 80,4 years and in the world the average is 72,8 years.

The country with the lowest human development index, Nigeria, has a life expectancy of 65 years at birth. On the other hand, the 1st country in the HDI ranking, Norway, has 82,4 years and France 82,7 years of life expectancy.

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 evaluation, Portugal has an adjusted HDI of 0,761, which makes it fall 5 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 19,8% of the wealth produced reaches 40% of the poorest, with 10,6% of the wealth held by the very richest 1% and 26.7% of the wealth owned by the richest 10%.

Table 2. Inequality, with adjusted HDI; Source: United Nations, 2020 Report.
CountryHDI RankHuman Development Index (HDI)Inequality; Adjusted HDITotal loss %Rank difference40% Poorest (%)10% Richest (%)1% Much Richer (%)GINI coefficient
Spain (España)250.9040.78313.4-1018.425.411.934.7

The European country, from this sample that we selected, with the greatest wealth held by 1% of the very richest is Germany, with 12.5%

In the US the very richest 1% of the population owns 20.5% of the country's wealth.

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 53.9 and the lowest is Norway with 27.0.

Portugal stands at 33.8.

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 0,858 for women and 0,868 for men. A smaller difference than that existing in the OECD, making the Gender Development Index at 0,988, better than the OECD average of 0,978.

In Portugal, life expectancy at birth is 84,9 years for women and 79,0 for men, better than the OECD average.

As for income, there is a big difference, women with 28.937US$ and men with 39.571US$, a difference of 10.634US$, that is, 37%, but smaller than the average difference in the OECD, of 60%.

Table 3. Gender Development Index; Source: United Nations, 2020 Report.
CountryHDI RankHuman Development Index (HDI)Gender Development IndexHDI WomenHDI MenLife Expectancy Birth Women (years)Life Expectancy Birth Men (years)Estimated GNI Women (US$)Estimated GNI Men (US$)
Spain (España)250.9040.9860.8960.90986.280.832,88149,356

Norway with a difference of 27% and Brazil with a difference of 72%

Let us now look at the evolution of the HDI both in Portugal and in the countries we selected, over the last 29 years, using the information contained in this United Nations Report.

The Evolution of Lusophone Countries

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

Portugal, among the “very high human development” countries, has an HDI, in 1990, of 0,718 and reaches the value of 0,864 in 2019. It thus presented an average annual growth of 0,64% but dropped 1 place in the ranking of HDI between 2014 and 2019.

Brazil, among the “high human development” countries, has an HDI of 1990 in 0,613 and reaches the value of 0,765 in 2019. It grew by 0,77%, but dropped 2 places in the HDI ranking between 2014 and 2019.

Table 4. Human development index in Portuguese-speaking countries; Source: United Nations, 2020 Report.
CountryHDI 1990HDI 2000HDI 2010HDI 2015HDI 2019HDI Rank Variation 2014-2019Average annual growth % HDI 1990-2019
Cape Verde ---0.5690.6320.6560.665-4 ---
Sao Tome and Principe0.4520.4980.5610.6040.62511.12
Timor Leste ---0.4840.6280.6100.606-12 ---
Equatorial Guinea ---0.5250.5760.5890.592-6 ---
Angola ---0.4000.5170.5720.581-4 ---
Guinea Bissau --- ---0.4360.4640.4801 ---
OECD0.7860.8350.8740.8910.900 ---0.47
World0.6010.6440.6990.7240.737 ---0.71

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

Cape Verde, which between 2000 and 2019, had an HDI evolution from 0.569 to 0.665, down 4 positions in the ranking between 2014 and 2019.

S. Tomé and Príncipe, which between 1990 and 2019, saw the HDI grow from 0,452 to 0,625, rising 1 position in the ranking from 2014 to 2019.

Timor-Leste increased its HDI from 0,484 to 0,606 between 2000 and 2019 and dropped 12 positions between 2014 and 2019.

Equatorial Guinea between 2000 and 2019, recorded an HDI growth from 0,525 to 0,592 and dropped 6 positions in the ranking from 2014 to 2019.

The evolution of Angola’s HDI, between 2000 and 2019, increased from 0,400 to 0,581 and fell by 4 positions.

Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique are among the “low human development” countries. Guinea-Bissau between 2010 and 2019 goes from 0,436 to 0,480 and Mozambique from 0,227 to 0,456 between 1990 and 2019.

The Evolution of the HDI in the Countries We Selected

Between 1990 and 2019, the evolution of the HDI in Portugal increased, in line with the growth of OECD countries. In this period there was an average growth (1990-2019) of 0,64%, slightly above the average growth in the OECD (0,47%). Portugal dropped 1 position in the HDI ranking between 2014 and 2019.

The biggest increase in the countries we compare was that of Brazil, which saw its HDI grow by 0,77%, although it dropped 2 positions.

Sweden and the US dropped 3 positions in the HDI ranking (2014-2019) and Spain rose one position.

Table 5. Evolution of the HDI of Portugal and selected countries; Source: United Nations, 2020 Report.
CountryHDI 1990HDI 2000HDI 2010HDI 2015HDI 2019HDI Rank Variation 2014-2019Average annual growth % HDI 1990-2019
Spain (España)0.7610.8320.8720.8950.90410.60
OECD0.7860.8350.8740.8910.900 ---0.47
World0.6010.6440.6990.7240.737 ---0.71

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

The full report can be downloaded below.

United Nations 2020 Report

Human Development Report 2020; United Nations Development Program 2020 Report.


Send the download link to:

I became aware of Privacy Policy. Also choose to receive our newsletter by clicking on the box below. Thanks.

Click on this box to receive our free weekly newsletter. You can unsubscribe at any time. And if you want to come back, we'll be waiting for you here!

See also:

From 1 to 5 stars, how do you rate this article?

5 stars for the highest score!

How you found this article interesting ...

Share it on your favorite social network!

We wish that the article had been to your satisfaction.

Help us improve!

We will be very grateful if you give us your contribution to make it better.

join us

Do you like the questions and tips we cover?

Receive news directly in your mailbox.

Subscribe our newsletter

You can cancel your subscription at any time.

And if you want to come back, we will be very grateful!

logo Bird on the Shoulder 250 x 143

Leave a Comment

Your email address Will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment is processed.

Privacy Policy          Terms and Conditions

Join us!

Sign up and don't miss the news on your blog

Receive the weekly newsleter in your email

Thanks for the visit!

Surprise yourself with our Facebook page.

Check back often

Logo PO 100 x 100 png Pop Ups
Scroll to Top