Guyana moves up slightly in human development index

Guyana has moved up slightly in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Index (HDI) ranking at 104 this year out of 169 countries which were evaluated.

The report, ‘Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development’, was released yesterday and it indicated that fewer countries made the list this year compared to 2009 when 182 countries were spotlighted; Guyana was ranked at 114 last year.

Guyana’s life expectancy was set at 67.8 years, while poverty levels were recorded at some 39.7 per cent.  The report’s new multidimensional poverty index, which measures multiple deprivations in health, education and living standards estimates that 10 per cent of the region’s people live in conditions of multidimensional poverty.

The report said that between 1980 and 2010 Guyana’s HDI rose by 0.7% annually from 0.500 to 0.611 today, which gives the country its current ranking. However, the HDI of Latin America and the Caribbean as a region increased from 0.578 in 1980 to 0.706 today, placing Guyana below the regional average.

The 2010 HDI reveals a wide range of achievement across the 32 countries of the region. Most are now in the ‘high’ human development category while Guyana remains in the ‘medium’ development category. Haiti is the lowest-ranking HDI performer in the region, ranking 145 out of the 169 countries analyzed, based on statistics predating the country’s devastating January 2010 earthquake.

Countries such as Guatemala, Bolivia and Brazil made the greatest gains in the region, but the report observed that the despite progress over the last decade, the region is hampered by income distribution that is still the most acutely skewed in the world.

The 2010 HDI report examined gains over 40 years in health, education and incomes, as measured by the HDI, for the countries for which comparable data is available. According to the UN, this year’s HDI should not be compared to the HDI that appeared in previous editions of the Human Development Report because of the use of different indicators and calculations.

Although Cuba’s HDI was not calculated this year owing to the unavailability of internationally comparable income figures, the report includes data on Cuba showing continuing strong achievements in health and education, the other two of the three HDI components.

Norway topped the HDI ranking for the eighth time this year followed by Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Ireland rounding out the top five. Zimbabwe came at bottom of the 169 nations ranked, behind Mozambique, Burundi, Niger and Democratic Republic of Congo.

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