Geography World - Human Development


  • Growth and development both call for a change over a period of time.

  • Development means a qualitative change of positive value.

  • Further, development cannot take place unless there is an increment or addition to the existing conditions; therefore, development occurs when positive growth takes place.

Human Development
  • However, positive growth does not always lead to development, but rather development occurs when there is a positive change in the quality.

  • For example, if the population of a city grows from fifty thousand to hundred thousand over a period of time, we say the city has grown. However, along with the population, if basic facilities like housing, provision of basic services, and other characteristics also upgrade or improve, then this is known as the development.

Human Development

  • The concept of human development was introduced by Dr Mahbub-ul-Haq.

  • Dr Haq described human development as development that broadens people’s choices and improves their lives.

  • Moreover, people are central to all development under this concept.

  • More popular as a man of vision and compassion, Pakistani economist Dr. Mahbub-ul-Haq created the Human Development Index in 1990.

  • According to Dr. Haq, development is all about enlarging people’s choices in order to lead long, healthy lives with dignity.

  • Further, the United Nations Development Program has adopted Dr. Haq’s concept of human development to publish the Human Development Report annually since 1990.

  • Leading a long and healthy life, being able to gain knowledge, and having enough means to be able to live a decent life are the most important aspects of the human development.

  • The idea of human development is supported by the concepts of equity, sustainability, productivity, and empowerment.

  • Equity refers to making equal access to opportunities for everybody.

  • Sustainability means continuity in the availability of opportunities, which means, to have sustainable human development, each generation must have the same opportunities.

  • All environmental, financial, and human resources must be used keeping in mind the future that misuse of any of these resources will lead to fewer opportunities for the future generations.

  • Productivity, used here means - human work; such productivity must be constantly enriched by building capabilities in people.

  • Empowerment, used here means - to have the power to make choices.

Human Development Index

  • The human development index illustrates what has been achieved in the key areas of human development.

  • The Human Development index and the Human Poverty index are the two important indices to measure human development used by the UNDP.

  • Bhutan is the only country in the world that officially proclaims the Gross National Happiness (GNH) as the measure of its progress.

  • The following maps show countries with their HDI and GDP through respective color (category) −

  • The countries that score more than 0.793, are kept under the category of very high human development index (shown in above in the blue color).

  • The countries that score between 0.698 and 0.793, are kept under the category of high human development index.

  • The countries that score between less than 0.522, are kept under the category of low human development index.

  • Moreover, the political environment of the country and the level of freedom people have is also an important criteria to major human development.