Human development indices and indicators 2018 statistical update
The greatest innovations of the HDRs have been new measurement tools—notably the Human Development Index (HDI), launched in the first HDR (box 1). The underlying principle of the HDI, considered pathbreaking in 1990, was elegantly simple: National development should be measured not only by income per capita, as had long been the practice, but also by health and education achievements.
Ranking countries by their HDI value transformed the development discourse and dethroned income per capita as the sole indicator of development progress.
The 2018 Update presents HDI values for 189 countries and territories with the most recent data for 2017. 1 Of these countries, 59 are in the very high human development group, 53 in the high, 39 in the medium and only 38 in the low. In 2010, 49 countries were in the low human development group.