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Human Development By Country (Top 184 Countries)


The Human Development Index (HDI)  has played an important role in shaping global development policy and discourse. It has been used to advocate for more significant investments in health, education, and social protection programs and to highlight the need for greater attention to the distributional aspects of development. 

More people have suffered due to the war in Ukraine and elsewhere. Record-breaking temperatures, fires, storms, and floods are warning signs of increasingly out-of-balance planetary systems. They are causing a cost of living crisis that is being felt globally, creating a picture of uncertain times and unsettling lives.

The UNDP publishes the Human Development Index (HDI) each year to gauge a country’s standard of living, health, and education. Due to the pandemic, the slowing of global economic growth, and the effects of climate change, the overall index has been declining for the past two years, the first time since the index was introduced 32 years ago.

Though almost universal, this decline is also getting deeper. If you follow the historical HDI, some countries always experience a decline but never exceed 10%, affecting less than 20 countries. However, this year’s decline is a global shock. More than 40% of these nations have experienced a decline for two years running. The COVID-19 pandemic and its lingering effects were blamed mainly for these declines.

An index that gauges essential aspects of human development is called the Human Development Index (HDI). Since its initial release in 1990, the HDI has been released yearly, except in 2012 and 2020/21. Over 90% of the 191 countries examined for the 2021/22 HDI report experienced a decrease in the global HDI regardless of 2020 or 2021, although HDI tends to trend upward globally over time. 


  • The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) came up with the HDI in 1990 to move the focus of development from economic growth to the well-being of people.
  • The HDI demonstrates that human development has improved over time, with many countries experiencing significant life expectancy, education, and income improvements. Nonetheless, progress has not been homogenous across all nations, and inequality remains a significant obstacle.
  • Significant regional variations exist, with Central Africa showing the lowest and highest values compared to North America, Europe, Japan, and Oceania.
  • To improve human development, the HDI can be used to identify problem areas and devise specific plans of action to fix them.
  • The HDI shows significant human development disparities across countries and regions. Some countries have excellent human development, whereas others struggle to offer basic services and opportunities.
  • Education is one of the most significant causes and effects of global development.


Health, education, and standard of living are the three factors upon which the HDI is based. These are measured by-

  • Life expectancy at birth – to gauge the likelihood of a long and healthy life 
  • Average years of schooling – to count the older generation’s access to knowledge
  • Gross national income (GNI) per capita – to measure the standard of living 

The Human Development Index (HDI) is divided into four categories: very high (0.8-1.0), high (0.7-0.79), medium (0.55-.70), and low (below 0.55). (below 0.55). Ranking As of 2021.

1. Switzerland (Score-0.962)

Switzerland’s human development index rating is very high. In 2021, Switzerland led the UN’s list of countries with the highest human development thanks to its rising incomes and longer life expectancy. This is exceptional for Switzerland, which placed third in 2020.

In 2021, the average lifespan increased to 84 years from 83.1 in 2020. In addition, the nation’s per capita GDP increased substantially from $86,850 in 2020 to $93,448 in 2021. This is consistent with global trends, as the pandemic reduced life expectancy by more than one and a half years and caused a global economic recession.

Regarding the gender development index, which examines how much more advanced women’s minds are than men’s, Switzerland can do better. However, Switzerland is in Group 2, the group with the second-best performance, so for gender equality to be achieved, female human development must catch up to male action.

2. Norway (Score-0.961)

Norway had the second-highest level of human development in that year, scoring 0.961, just behind Switzerland. As a result, Norway’s overall index rating was 0.961. In 2017, the Nordic nation maintained its leading position.

Norway was also determined to have low inequality. After inequality was factored into calculating each nation’s HDI score, the Country remained at the summit of the UN’s development index. In 2021, Norway’s GDP per person increased by 7.7% from 2020 to $83,880. 

The Norwegian population’s education level is at an all-time high and continues to rise. Although upper secondary education is the most common form of education in Norway, an increasing number of students are enrolling in programs at the university level. For approximately 37% of the population in 2020, the highest level of education attained was an upper secondary education; about 35% was a college degree.

The Norwegian education system for kids and teens has three levels: primary, lower, and upper secondary. Approximately 20,000 more students were enrolled in primary institutions during the past decade. However, despite the increase in students, there were fewer primary schools, with less than 1,530 in 2021. Simultaneously, the number of private institutions and their enrollment increased dramatically.

In 2021, nearly 200,000 students were enrolled in secondary school. The number of students in upper secondary institutions in recent years remained unchanged.

Universities in Norway, the majority of which are public institutions, do not charge tuition. In Norway, over 318 thousand pupils were enrolled in higher education in 2021, an increase of nearly 70,000 from ten years prior. Universities are the most prevalent setting for higher education among Norwegians. The majority of pupils, or more than 190,000, are female. 

It is also the most peaceful and democratic nation in the world, with the least crime and the government with the slightest pay gap between the lowest-paid employee and most company managers. 

3. Iceland (Score- 0.959)

Iceland ranked third in HDI rankings. Norway is the most developed nation on the globe. Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is one of the world’s wealthiest countries, ranking fourth in GDP per person.

The Icelandic GDP per capita increased by 1.89 percent from 2020 to 2021, reaching $63,460. According to data on educational attainment from 2021, more Icelanders have completed secondary or tertiary education than primary education. In 2021, nearly 37% of Icelanders had completed post-secondary education. In addition, more Icelandic women than males have earned a bachelor’s degree.

Iceland is located between the Greenland Sea, the Norwegian Sea, and the North Atlantic Ocean in northern Europe. With only 357,000 inhabitants, it is one of the least populous (and smallest) countries globally. Yet, despite all this and a severe economic collapse in 2008, Iceland has a robust economy, highly developed technology, and a very high standard of living.

4. Hong Kong SAR (Score- 0.952)

Hong Kong ranked fourth Worldwide. With a score of 0.952, the HDI is astounding. This developing economy is essential. A nation with a population of 7.4 million is under China’s administrative control, causing social and political unrest as its citizens defend their democracy and freedom against China. Despite this, it has one of the world’s largest stock exchanges and a very high HDI due to its high standard of living.

Based on current market prices, Hong Kong’s GNI for 2021 increased 8.3% from the previous year to $3,066.6 billion. Therefore, the difference between the GDP for the same year and $205.0 billion represented 7.2% of the GDP for that year.

5. Australia (Score-0.951)

Australia ranked fifth on Human Development Index. It is the sixth-largest country in the world and the largest in Oceania. It is home to 25.6% of the world’s population and operates under a federal constitutional parliamentary monarchy. 

In 2021, the average Australian made $57,170 in income, an increase of 6.62 percent from the previous year. Australia, however, has long held a perception of a wealthy but sparsely populated Country that is especially vulnerable to disasters and where the economy is highly dependent on agriculture and foreign investment.

Australia’s education system, popular with local and international students, is split into two distinct tiers: secondary school and university. Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs vary by state and are the first step in a child’s formal education before elementary school.

6. Denmark (Score-0.948)

Denmark ranks sixth in the world with a score of 0.948%. The water system in Denmark is outstanding. Free education is available to all Danes, including primary, secondary, and university education. Free education is one of the pillars of the Danish welfare state. In Denmark, children must attend school through the ninth grade of primary education. Most students then participate in upper secondary education, where they typically earn a diploma. As of 2021, primary school was the most significant level of education attained by 24% of the Danish population. Nevertheless, the population is becoming more educated, and nearly 30% of Danes completed their vocational education that year.

The pandemic had little impact on the Danish economy. In contrast, a rapid return to growth in employment and production led to a 4.7% increase in actual GDP in 2021. Strong employment growth and rising disposable household incomes contributed to the robust expansion.

The life expectancy in Denmark in 2021 was 81.11 years, an increase of 0.18 percent from 2020. On the Better Life Index, Denmark does better than most other countries in a wide range of well-being measures than most other countries. For example, Denmark tops the average regarding employment, education, health, the environment, social connections, civic engagement, and life satisfaction.

7. Sweden (Score-0.947)

Sweden’s ranking in 2021 is number seven. Sweden, also known as the Kingdom of Sweden, is the fifth-largest nation in Europe, with a population of 10 million. In addition, 98% of the population has access to the Internet, making it the Country with the highest Internet penetration. Nevertheless, environmental protection, the development of renewable energy sources, and the preservation of natural resources remain government and societal priorities. 

In 2021, Sweden’s life expectancy will increase by 0.18 percent from 2020 to 83.03 years. The life expectancy in Sweden in 2020 was 82.87 years, an increase of 0.18% from 2019.

In 2021, the largest Nordic economy of Sweden’s GDP of $627 billion and a population of 10.4 million. It has a transparent, highly developed, sophisticated, and diverse market with few entry barriers.

8. Ireland (Score-0.945)

Ireland is ranked eighth with a Score of 0.945. It is a country that shares a border with Northern Ireland of the United Kingdom. Ireland proclaimed its independence from the United Kingdom in 1922. It has the highest GDP per capita, economic growth, quality of life, and political, economic, and press freedom.

Ireland’s GDP was expected to increase by 4.6% in 2021. Ireland was the only nation to experience favorable growth in 2020, but the effects of pandemic restrictions on its domestic economy lingered into early 2021.

The focus of the primary curriculum in Irish schools is the pupil.

Typically, children are required to study Irish in school. However, it is conceivable that some children will not be required to study Irish in school. Instead, their primary education system encourages and develops children’s project work, collaboration, communication skills, and curiosity. This zeal for education persists throughout the first years of secondary school.

In 2021, Ireland’s life expectancy was 82.51 years, up 0.18 percent from 2020. Ireland has the longest average lifespan in the EU. Moreover, life expectancy is continually increasing. In 2020, the average life expectancy for women in the state was 84, up from 83 a decade earlier, while the average life expectancy for men was 81. Additionally, the gender gap is narrowing. The interval decreased from 5.2 years in 2000 to 3.6 years in 2020.

9. Germany (Score-0.942)

Germany is ranked ninth in the world. It has the largest population in the European Union, with 83 million people. In addition to being a leader in scientific and technological development, the third world invests the most in human development, allowing for the establishment of a comprehensive social security system, a high standard of living, and a high GNI. 

The GDP in 2021 increased by 2.7% compared to 2020. However, economic activity in 2021 highly depended on coronavirus infection rates and associated containment measures.

German education includes the primary, elementary, and secondary educational levels. For higher education, universities and universities of applied sciences are then utilized. In Germany, it is common for high school graduates to apply to universities for various reasons, including an interest in a particular subject, a desire to experience university life, or a desire for improved job prospects in the future. 

Consequently, students have increased steadily over the past few years. Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs with international recognition make up the majority of degree options offered by German universities.

Germans can anticipate a lengthy life expectancy, but improving mortality and morbidity rates will necessitate additional health behavior modification. In 2021, Germany’s life expectancy was 81.57 years, an increase of 0.19% from 2020.

10. Netherlands (Score-0.941)

The Netherlands ranked 10th in HDI. Amsterdam is the city of the Netherlands, also known as Holland, which is a member of the European Union. It is one of the nations with the most economic freedom, one of the world’s most stable democracies, and a high standard of living. Moreover, it has a very low level of corruption. 

In 2021, the Netherlands’ life expectancy was 82.49 years, an increase of 0.17% from 2020. The Netherlands’ life expectancy in 2020 was 82.35 years, up 0.18 percent from 2019.

The Dutch educational system is outstanding, but it is vastly different from that of the majority of other countries. Additionally, specific ordinances are city-specific. Since 1917, however, schools adhering to particular pedagogical or religious principles have received the same state funding as public schools.

The real GDP of the Netherlands increased by 4.8% in 2021 as restrictions were partially lifted and business activity grew. According to the OECD, the economy expanded by 6.4% in Q4 2021, up from -3.1% in Q4 2020. The government unveiled fiscal stimulus measures comprising 16.8% of GDP in March 2020.

11. Finland (Score-0.940)

Finland is ranked 11th with a score of 0.940. Finland is a country in northern Europe. Until 1809, it was a part of Sweden. It is a democratic republic with a GNI per person of $53,510, making it one of the wealthiest countries in Europe. There is almost no corruption. From 2020, it will be 6.81% more. Due to all of these things, it is one of the best places to live.

The Finnish economy is defined as being open and honest. The law protects property rights and is one of the best in the world. As a result, corruption is only accepted a little, and the rule of law is kept. Finland has also gained for a long time from free-market policies that make it easy to invest and trade.

Finland is the eighth most learned Country in the world. With a total score of 1.631K, Finland is third in the 2021 Education Ranking by Countries. Finland is the place where most people finish high school. According to a study by the WEF called “Global Competitiveness,” Finland has the best school system in the world. In 2021, Finland’s life expectancy fell to 81.9 years. In that year, the average life span for men was 79.3, and for women, ‘s was 84.6.

12. Singapore (Score-0.939)

Singapore is in the 12th position. It is a country south of Malaysia with more than 5 million people and one of the best healthcare systems in the world. And that is why Singapore has tried to show people how important it is to save money and ensure everyone is covered. It is a country comprising 63 islands, and its standard of living, safety, health care, right to property, and economic freedom are all very high.

As the domestic Covid-19 situation became more stable, the economy did better than expected in the year’s first half. This led the government of Singapore to raise its official growth estimate for 2021. Because of this, it is expected that Singapore’s economy will grow by 6% to 7% in 2021.

Singapore’s education system is one of the best in the world because its students always do well on the OECD PISA tests. To do this, the government spends more money on schooling every year. But the school system’s focus on doing well on tests stresses kids mentally and emotionally.

13. Belgium (Score-0.937)

Belgium, a tiny nation in northwest Europe, is ranked 13th in the HDI index. Its capital is Brussels, and its total population is 11,4 million. Due to its robust economy, it has the highest per capita GDP and one of the highest standards of living in Europe.

In 2021, approximately 36% of Belgians over the age of 15 had attained a higher secondary education, compared to just over 10% who had only attained a lower education diploma or none. 

The Belgian gross domestic product increased by 10.21% from 2020 to 2021, reaching $585.38 billion. Due to its solid foundation in economic liberty, Belgium’s economy has perpetually benefited from open-market policies that promote international trade and investment.

However, structural defects make it difficult to compete internationally, the tax code is burdensome, and the extensive welfare state is costly. Additionally, inflexible labor markets remain a significant barrier to productivity and employment growth.

The birth life expectancy in Belgium in 2021 was 81.7 years. Women can expect to live 84.0 years at birth, while men can expect to live 79.2 years. Consequently, life expectancy at birth increased by 0.9% compared to 2020 for the entire population.

14. New Zealand (Score-0.937)

New Zealand is ranked fourteenth. New Zealand is included in the region of Oceania. It has a geographically distinct parliamentary monarchy and ranks among the world’s most livable cities. 

In addition, studies of democracy indices rank it as the most independent and civil rights-respecting nation globally.

Young individuals in New Zealand with bachelor’s degrees or higher levels of education had higher employment rates than the OECD average.

The effects of the border closures during the busiest travel period of the year are anticipated to cause a modest economic contraction in New Zealand in the first quarter of 2021. However, GDP growth is expected to accelerate in the following year, reaching 4.0% annually in 2021. In 2021, New Zealand’s GNI was $231.72 billion, a 9.76% increase from 2020.

15. Canada (Score-0.936)

Canada is 15th on the list. The last Country on the list of 15 is Canada. It is North America’s biggest country.. After Russia, it is the second largest Country in the world. It is home to 37 million people and has the 10th largest economy worldwide. It is also energy independent, a leader in technology, and has a standard of life that is hard to beat.

Canada’s economic picture for 2021 is about the same as that of other developed countries. Canada’s economy grew by 6.5% in the first three months of 2021. It has one of the best life expectancies in the world. In 2021, Canada’s life expectancy was 82.66 years, which was 0.18% higher than in 2020.

Here is a list of human development by country, according to the United Nations:

RankCountries Score
4Hong Kong SAR0.952
14New Zealand0.937
20South Korea0.925
37Saudi Arabia0.875
44San Marino0.853
58Costa Rica0.809
71Ant.& Barb.0.788
73Sri Lanka0.782
74Bosnia & Herz.0.78
77North Macedonia0.77
79Domin. Rep.0.767
122El Salvador0.675
125Cape Verde0.662
139Eq. Guinea0.596
147DR Congo0.571
149Solomon Isl.0.564
151Papua N.G.0.558
153Ivory Coast0.55
172R. of Congo0.479
174Sierra Leone0.477
177Burkina Faso0.449
181C.A. Republic0.404
184South Africa0.385

In conclusion, the HDI is an important tool for tracking and improving human growth. It gives an exhaustive overview of how things are going, helps determine what needs to be fixed, lets countries compare themselves, and supports accountability and openness. 

The HDI is another single number that tells us more about the quality of life than GDP ever could. For example, the HDI looks at how fewer deaths, better health, and more schooling affect the well-being of society as a whole. On the other hand, GDP only looks at the wholesale value of the things and services bought and sold.

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