Human Development Indices and Indicators: A Critical Evaluation

By Stephan Klasen

This paper critically evaluates UNDP’s current suite of human development indicators and composite indices. Despite a drastically changed landscape of development debates and associated indicators, most notably the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), targets and indicators, the paper argues for the continued relevance of comprehensive measures of human development. It proposes little change to the flagship Human Development Index (HDI), the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI) and the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), but encourages more analysis of trends and determinants in these measures. It proposes revisions to gender indicators, and two new measures to track sustainability and commitment to development.