The map of the different country development levels is based on peace in the world, the (UNDP) United Nations Development Programme and the developed (HDI) "Human Development Index". The HDI seeks to identify a number of factors by looking at the living standards of different countries. It has been published annually in the World Development Report (Human Development Report, HDR) since 1990.
Living conditions worldwide
Only about one fifth of the world's population (63 out of 177 countries) has a HDI> 0.8, which means they have good to very good living conditions. Approximately one tenth has an HDI of well below 0.5. This part of the population live in poor to very poor conditions and compared with the 2002 data, the situation for these people is becoming worse.
The map shows a distinct development gap among OECD countries and many African and Asian countries. In Africa, only Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and the Seychelles are among the emerging countries. In Europe, there is a clear east-west divide, however, the marked north-south difference in Western Europe has disappeared.
Apart from the OECD countries, including Israel, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Malaysia, only a few countries have a good level of development.
In Latin America, a south-north gap can be recognised and there are differences in development between economically emerging countries such as Costa Rica and also Haiti, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and Bolivia, which have been rocked at times by civil wars.
Asia also shows a heterogeneous image with sharp contrasts within its sub-regions. These differences are clearly seen within Western Asia between countries such as Pakistan, Iran and the Emirates. In the map image, there is no information available regarding levels of development in the grey-coloured territories of Greenland, Liberia, North Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan. The Asian continent has also the greatest change in momentum, reflected for example in the development of Malaysia.
The calculation of the Human Development Index
Through the "Human Development Index", living conditions in one country are recorded and international comparisons made. It is composed of three components, covering different areas of economic and social development levels:
1. The average life expectancy is recorded, taking into account the state of health care and access to health care for example: social protection or services provided free, the food situation in terms of food supply and access to clean drinking water and also hygiene and social factors such as security in old age.
2. Educational achievement is measured through individual indicators of literacy and school enrollment. The level of education for acquired knowledge and participation in public and political life. Also, it gives certain conclusions regarding the equality of men and women and the safeguarding of children's rights.
3. The material standard of living, as measured by gross national income (GNI) per capita-taking into account the cost of living- reflects the level of economic development. This is the most problematic and controversial single indicator, because the average says little about the often unequal distribution within the population of a country. With the GNI, the extent of economic activities and flow of income are compared rather than the actual income situation, which is also influenced by the informal sector and subsistence agriculture not covered here. Also, the difficult price comparability due to compromises in the predictive value in global comparison, is tempered here by the consideration of domestic prices and the application of the logarithm in the calculation of these sub-indices. However, despite its limited value proposition and in absence of an alternative, the GNI is added to the collection of material living standards in the HDI.
K. Heyden; Ü: C. Fleming