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The Human Poverty Index is an indication of the standard of living in a country, developed by the United Nations (UN). For high development countries, the UN considers this a better indicator than the Human Development Index[1]. In order to reflect the gaps in the Human Development Index, the United Nations came out with the Human Poverty Index (HPI) in 1997. The HPI measures the deficiencies in the three indexes of the human development index: long and healthy life, knowledge and a decent standard of living. The HPI is meant to provide a broader view of human development and is adapted to developed countries to reveal social exclusion.[1]


The human poverty index for developing countries (HPI-1) Edit

The Human Development Reports website summarizes this as "A composite index measuring deprivations in the three basic dimensions captured in the human development index — a long and healthy life, knowledge and a decent standard of living." See [2] for the details of calculating this index.

The human poverty index for selected OECD countries (HPI-2) Edit

The Human Development Reports website summarizes this as "A composite index measuring deprivations in the three basic dimensions captured in the human development index — a long and healthy life, knowledge and a decent standard of living — and also capturing social exclusion." See [3] for the details of calculating this index.

The last report, 2006, only has a ranking for 18 of the 21 countries with the highest Human Development Index. The ranking is as follows (with the country with the lowest amount of poverty at the top):

RankingCountryHPI-2Probability at birth of not surviving to age 60 (%)People lacking functional literacy skills (%)Long-term unemployment (%)Population below 50% of median income (%)
1Sweden6.57.27.51.06.5
2Norway7.08.47.90.46.4
3Netherlands8.28.710.52.57.3
4Finland8.29.710.42.15.4
5Denmark8.410.49.61.3-
6Germany10.38.814.45.08.3
7Switzerland10.77.815.91.67.6
8Canada10.98.114.60.711.4
9Luxembourg11.19.7-1.26.0
10France11.49.8-4.38.0
11Japan11.77.1-1.511.8
12Belgium12.49.418.44.38.0
13Spain12.68.7-3.014.3
14Australia12.87.717.00.914.3
15United Kingdom14.88.721.81.112.4
16United States15.411.820.00.617.0
17Ireland16.18.722.61.516.5
18Italy29.97.847.04.012.7

The countries ranked in the top 21 by HDI that are not on this list are Iceland, Austria and New Zealand.

Note that not all countries are included because data for the indicators are not always available. So positions could change if they were. Especially countries at the bottom could drop considerably if the list were extended. For specific values for other countries than the ones on the list, see source links below.

Indicators used are:

  • Probability at birth of not surviving to age 60 (% of cohort), 2000-2005. Varies from 7.1% for Japan to 11.8 for the USA. This is the indicator that is best known for all countries (including the ones not on the list). Worse values start only at position 35 of the HDI, indicating that many countries could climb on an extended list based on this, knocking down lower ranked countries on the above list.
  • People lacking functional literacy skills (% of people scoring in the range called “Level 1” in the International Adult Literacy Survey, age 16-65, 1994-2003). Varies from 7.5% for Sweden to 47.0% for Italy. These figures are higher than most commonly cited illiteracy rates due to the choice of the literacy test.
  • Long-term unemployment (12 months or more, % of labour force), 2005. Varies from 0.4% for Norway to 5.0% for Germany. This indicator has by far the greatest variation, with a value as high as 9.3% at HDI position 37.
  • Population below 50% of median adjusted household disposable income (%), 1994-2002. Varies from 5.4% for Finland to 17% for the USA.

The population with an income below 11$ per day is not used in the calculation (it is known for too few countries), but this shows a striking variation with scores over 10% for Australia, the UK and the USA, but an extremely low score of 0.3% for Luxembourg, so this could have changed the list considerably if it had been included.

Above countries also score high on the List of countries by GDP (nominal) per capita, but Germany and Spain have a much higher ranking here and, conversely, Qatar is not even on this list at all.

See alsoEdit

SourcesEdit

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