Chile: Highest Human Development Index in Latin America

The Human Development Report, published every year by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), ranked Chile as the country in Latin America with the highest quality of life, and number 44 out of a total of 187 countries.

According to the UNDP website, the definition of “development” is the following:

Human development is the expansion of people’s freedoms and capabilities to lead lives that they value and have reason to value. It is about expanding choices. Freedoms and capabilities are a more expansive notion than basic needs. Many ends are necessary for a “good life,” ends that can be intrinsically as well as instrumentally valuable—we may value biodiversity, for example, or natural beauty, independently of its contribution to our living standards.

In practice, the HDI measures life expectancy, income and education level in each country.

The regional average for Latin America and the Carribbean was and HDI of 0.731, and Chile’s HDI was 0.805. Neighbor Argentina came in 2nd in Latin America with 0.797

Norway came in the top spot with an HDI of 0.943, while the United States came in 4th with an HDI of 0.910.

On the other end of the spectrum, all countries occupying the bottom 10 spots in the ranking were from sub-Saharan Africa, with the Democratic Republic of Congo coming in last place.

This year’s report also included a Gender Equality Index, and an Inequality adjusted HDI. When adjusted for inequality, Chile’s HDI dropped signficantly, to 0.652, which is not surprising given that improving the gap between the rich and the poor is one of Chile’s biggest challenges as one of the most inequal socities in Latin America.

Sources: UNDP, Terra