The Human Development Index Essay, Research Paper
Comparing The Old United Nation’s Human Development Index To The New One
The United Nations is an international organization established immediately after World War 2 to maintain international peace and security and to achieve cooperation in solving international economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems. The United Nation’s Charter, which is the organization’s governing treaty, was first drawn up in 1945 at a meeting held in San Francisco. The principle organs of the United Nations charter are the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice, and the Secretariat. Other than trying to maintain peace and order around the world, the United Nations also gives an annual report of each country’s economic and social status in the world in order to find the problems that a country might be facing. The United Nations uses the human development index to measure the quality of life in different places in the world. The human development index is made up of indicators, which are elements of the standard of living that are used to measure contrasts between societies. Each indicator in the human development index measures and compares a specific element of standard of living in a country. In this essay, we will compare the old human development index to the new and improved human development index. We will also learn about Canada’s ranking in the world and some of the problems Canada is facing today.
The old human development index, used by the United Nations consisted of three main indicators. The first indicator used in the old human development index was the infant mortality rate. The infant mortality rate is the number of deaths of infants (Children under one year of age ) per thousand of total live births. The lower the infant mortality of a country is, the more developed that country’s health and medical system is. Therefor we could say that developed countries such as Canada, have a very low infant mortality rate, compared to the less developed countries. This is mainly because developed countries have the money and the technology to build medical facilities that use technologically advanced machines which help improve a countries health and medical systems, thus causing a lower infant mortality rate . Another factor that affects the infant mortality rate, is the wealth and economic prosperity of a country. For instance, if a country has a good economy, there would be a less chance of people of that country dying at early ages because of hunger or malnutrition.
The second indicator used in the old human development index was the Life expectancy. Life expectancy is the number of years a person is expected to live. Developed countries usually have greater life expectancies than the less developed countries. For example, Afghanistan, which is one of the least developed countries in the world has a life expectancy of 46.5 years while Canada, which is a developed country has an average life expectancy of 79.1 years. One factor that could affect the life expectancy of a country is the environment the population of that country lives in. For instance if the people of a country live in a place where there is not much sanitation, there is a good chance that a large number of people in that country would die as a result of diseases, caused by bacteria.
The third indicator used in the old human development index was the literacy rate. Literacy rate is the percentage of the adult population who have at least the minimal ability to read. The literacy rate of a country is measured using the International Adult Literacy Survey. The International Adult Literacy Survey measures “prose”, “document” and “quantitative” skills. This survey is divided down into 5 levels, with level 1 being the category with the lowest skill and level 5 being the highest. Developed countries usually have high literacy rates compared to the developing countries which is one of the main reasons for their success. Countries who have high literacy rates are more educated and therefor have the knowledge required to survive in the global economy. Unlike developed countries, the less developed countries have low literacy rates. This is perhaps the most important reason why the less developed countries are not technologically advanced, and therefor cannot compete economically with the developed countries.
The new and improved human development index used by the United Nations consists of four indicators. The first indicator in the new human development index is the deprivation in survival. The deprivation in survival is measured by the percentage of the population likely to die before the age of 60. Therefor we could say that if a country has a high deprivation in survival, that country lacks health and medical systems that help people live longer. For example, Niger, which is located in Africa has one of the highest deprivations for survival in the world. This is mainly because Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world and as a result, its people cannot afford to buy food, thus causing many of them to die of malnutrition and diseases.
The second indicator used in the new Human Development Index is the deprivation in knowledge. This indicator is measured by the percentage of the population functionally illiterate, which is basically the percentage of the population lacking an ability to read and write adequate for the most basic demands of modern society, such as reading instructions on a medicine bottle. Just like the old human development index, the new one uses The International Adult Literacy Survey to measure the literacy rate of a country. When comparing the deprivation in knowledge of developed countries with the developing countries, it’s clearly evident that developed countries have a lower deprivation in knowledge than the developing countries. However, illiteracy is not just a problem that exists in the developing countries. Illiteracy is a world wide problem that affects all the countries in the world. One billion people in the world, which turns out to be 26% of the adult population are illiterate and almost 2/3 of the world’s illiterate people are women.
The third indicator used in the new Human Development Index is the deprivation in economic provisioning. The deprivation in economic provisioning is measured by the proportion of people whose disposable income is less than 50 percent of the median, leaving them unable to achieve the standard of living necessary to avoid hardship and to participate in the life of the community. The deprivation in economic provisioning exists all over the world, even the developed countries. For example, Mozambique which is located in Africa has one of the highest deprivations in economic provisioning, and the United States has the most poverty among industrialized nations, with 16.5 per cent of its population having incomes under the poverty line.
The fourth indicator used in the new human development index is the social exclusion. Social exclusion is measured by the percentage of long term unemployed ( those out of work 12 months or more ) in the labour force. Social exclusion almost completely depends in the economy of a country. If a country has a strong economy, there would be lots of jobs available for the people of that country. On the other hand, if a country is in poor economic shape, that country’s social exclusion would be very high. For example, the United States has a social exclusion of 4.5 per cent while Algeria has a social exclusion of 40 per cent.
Canada has been ranked 6 times this decade as the best place in the world to live, by the United nations. The United Nations 1998 human development index, which emphasized on the consumption from the perspective of human development, placed Canada first among 174 countries. Canada has the highest level of educational attainment among the developed countries, however it still has a deprivation in knowledge of about 3 per cent. Canada’s average life expectancy is about 79.1 years compared to the industrialized nations’ average of 74.2. The social exclusion of Canada is about 7.8 per cent while its per capita income is $ 21,916 which was ranked 11th among the 17 industrialized countries. Canada’s deprivation in economic provisioning is 12 per cent and it is ranked 10th of 17 in the poverty index for developed countries. Even though Canada has been ranked number one in the Human Development, there are still lots of room for improvement, and there are some areas that need work. For example Canada has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the developed world. Canada also has one of the biggest gaps between the rich and poor among the industrial nations.
In conclusion we could say that the new Human development Index is more accurate and useful than the old one. The reason for this is because the new Human Development Index has more indicators which help measure all the important elements of standards of living in different places in the world. By using the new Human development Index, the Untied nations can give out more accurate and useful reports of nations around the world, thus pointing out the problems that a country has, and needs to work on. By using the Human Development Report to compare countries, we could see that even the most developed countries in the world are not perfect, and still need improvements in certain aspects of their lives