NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Fraser Institute Index of Human Progress

November 6, 2001

The United States ranks first on the Fraser Institute's Measuring Development: An Index of Human Progress. This new study provides a more complete view of the recent history and current state of development throughout the world than does the United Nations' often-quoted Human Development Index.

In addition to indicators used in the United Nations' Human Development Index, such as life expectancy and educational attainment, the Fraser Index uses unadjusted Gross Domestic Product per capita (1995 U.S. dollars) and includes six additional indicators that measure desirable outcomes. The cost of increasing the number of indicators is that fewer countries can be included in the Index of Human Progress (128 rather than the United Nations' 162) because some do not have complete data.

Among the findings of the study:

  • The top five countries and the increase in their scores between 1975 and 1999 are: (1) United States (81.4 to 105.8), (2) Switzerland (86.0 to 105.5), (3) Luxembourg (69.6 to 104.8), (4) Denmark (81.2 to 103.9), and (5) Japan (76.2 to 103.7).
  • Canada came in sixteenth with a score of 94.0 in 1999, up from 73.2 in 1975.
  • The United States was ranked second for 1975 through 1990 and first for 1995 and 1999. Canada ranked sixth in 1975, tenth in 1980, eighth in 1985, seventh in 1990, eleventh in 1995 and sixteenth in 1999.
  • Lowest ranked countries are: (124) Ethiopia (11.6 in 1980 to 16.7 in 1999), (125) Burundi (11.4 in 1975 to 16.3 in 1999), (126) Mozambique (15.0 in 1980 to 15.1 in 1999), (127) Burkina Faso (7.4 in 1975 to 13.5 in 1999), and (128) Niger (4.3 in 1975 to 12.2 in 1999).

Importantly, the study found that most countries increased their score -- 124 out of the 128 countries ranked have improved.

Source: Joel Emes and Tony Hahn, "Measuring Development: An Index of Human Progress," Public Policy Sources No. 36, Fraser Institute, 4th Floor, 1770 Burrard Street, Vancouver, B.C. Canada V6J 3G7, (604) 688-0221.

 

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