HDI: What is it?

The Human Development Index is a tool that scientists all over the world use to measure the quality of life of a place. You can abbreviate, or shorten the Human Development Index to HDI.

Think of it like this:

H = Human

D = Development

I = Index


What do scientists use to figure out the HDI of a place?

Scientists use three different things to measure the quality of life of a place: education, how much money people make, and how long people live. Lets look at each of these a little more closely:

Life Expectancy: How long people live

Scientists agree that it is important for people to have plenty of doctors and hospitals to help people when they are hurt and sick. But living a long time can depend on other things, too. Things like whether or not there is enough food to eat, clean water to drink, and if the place is safe, for example. Scientists call this Life Expectancy.

Income: How much money people make

The amount of money someone makes can have an effect on how well they live. The more money someone makes, the easier it is for them to buy the things that they need like food, clothes, a home, a car, and other things. Another word for how much money someone makes is income.

Education: How long people go to school and what kind of higher education do they receive?

One things that nearly all scientists agree on is that education has a huge impact on anyone's quality of life! Without a good education, people will have a more difficult time finding a good job that they like. They might also have trouble buying the things that they need. Dropping out of school before graduating can have a huge impact on someone's life. Going to college or other forms of higher education can really help. That's why a person's level of education is the most important of the three things that make up the Human Development Index!


How do scientists find the HDI of a place?

You can find the HDI of a city, state, or even a country. Scientists use HDI as a tool to help them better understand what life is like in different places. To figure out what the HDI of a place is, scientists use math. The math problems they have to figure out in order to find out a place's HDI are incredibly complex. The short version looks like this:

external image 3cb520e370fb8d0c25edd0e5a1731218.png


That looks pretty complicated (and awesome!), doesn't it? You have a few years left in school before you will be expected to complete problems like this! For this project, we will use some data that scientists have already completed.

The answer to this math equation, or problem, is always a number between zero and 10, and almost always includes a decimal. If a place has a perfect HDI, it would be the perfect place to live! Unfortunately, there is no perfect place to live. But some places come close. These places have an HDI of 8.5 or 9.74, for example. There are some places in the world that have very low HDI's. These places are very hard places to live. They might have an HDI of 3.232 or 4.53, for example.

How can I find out more about HDI?

Here are a few links that can help you discover more about HDI:

A cool map of the world that shows the HDI of each country on Earth.
Here is some great information about the HDI of the United States. It includes some graphs, too!
A map of the U.S. that shows the HDI levels by state.
Awesome maps that you can build to show HDI in the United States!