Until 1990, the main criteria for measuring development and welfare were economical indices such as GDP. Inadequacy of the mentioned indices to show the development trend of countries led to addition of other factors to measure all effective aspects in development. In order to create more comprehensive indices which can cover social components too, economists presented the concept of sustainable development and then Human Development Index (HDI). HDI measures the quality of life in one hand and economic welfare on the other hand. In this regard, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) annually publishes HDI based on three main factors include health, education and life quality and each of these factors has its own subcategories. Gross National Income (GNI) per capita and GINI Index considered as the principal factors of life quality indicator, expected years of schooling and mean years of schooling are the main branches of education indicator and finally, freedom of choice, life satisfaction, trust in the judicial system, environmental protection and life expectancy are the basic factors of health indicator. Generally, HDI’s range is between 0 to 1 and higher values represent the higher level of development. Countries have been categorized into four main groups based on their developmental level: very high human development, high human development, medium human development and low human development. It should be noted that, these groups include 51, 53, 44 and 39 countries respectively (187 countries in total) which are studied in HDI by UNDP. According to the latest HDI’s report (2016), the human development value has increased every year on average and has reached to 0.73 in 2016. This has been shown in the below:
As we can see in the chart below, Norway, Australia and Switzerland are among most developed countries in terms of HDI’s factors according to the latest countries’ ranking in the field of human development:
Iran’s HDI value for 2016 was 0.774 which has positioned Iran at 69 out of 187 countries. Human development index in Iran has recorded 1.09% growth annually on average during last 16 years. The state of Iran’ HDI value and its rank from 2012 to 2016 are shown in the table below:
According to the latest report, Iran’s development trend has been improved in the field of supplying basic needs like accessibility to drinking water, electricity infrastructure, food security and infant mortality rate. However, the development process in the other sectors are relatively slower.
All in all, according to an article published by Deloitte, improvement in life quality beside economic growth is necessary to reach ideal society. In this regard, the latest United Nations’ suggestion is to have improvement in economy, politics and culture simultaneously. Iran’s HDI value was 0.73 on average from 2000 to 2016 which is higher than global HDI value in this period. In the Middle East, achieving rank 7 and being among top ten ranks in human development index in 2016 emphasize not only the improvement of Iran’s social and economic situation during recent years but also continuing development path.