To most people, development is best measured by the quantity of change like gains in average income, life expectancy, or years spent in school. The Human Development Index (HDI), a composite measure of national progress that my office at the United Nations Development Programme oversees, combines all three statistics to rank countries relative to one another. What many do not realize, however, is that such metrics, while useful, do not tell the entire story of development. In fact, to understand how developed a country is, we must also grasp how peoples lives are affected by progress. And to understand that, we must consider the quality of the change that is being reported.
Guest Article by Selim Jahan, Director of the Human Development Report Office, UNDP via Project Syndicate