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EghtesadOnline: Iran climbed one step to rank 60th among 189 countries reviewed in the latest Human Development Index report released by the United Nations Development Program.

Notably, the country is placed ahead of Turkey (64th), Mexico (74th), Brazil (79th), China (86th), South Africa (113th) and India (130th). 

Iran's HDI value for 2017, according to the report, is 0.798, which puts the country on top of the ‘high human development category’. 

HDI classifications are based on HDI fixed cutoff points, which are derived from the quartiles of distributions of component indicators. The cutoff points are HDI of less than 0.550 for low human development, 0.550–0.699 for medium human development, 0.700–0.799 for high human development and 0.800 or greater for very high human development, according to Financial Tribune.

Of all the 189 countries reviewed, 59 are in the very high human development group, 53 in the high, 39 in the medium and only 38 in the low.

Iran’s HDI value for 2016 was 0.796.

HDI is a summary measure for assessing long-term progress in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living. 

Between 1990 and 2017, Iran’s HDI value increased from 0.577 to 0.798, indicating an annual increase of nearly 1.21%. 

Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Ireland and Germany led the rankings in the new report, while Niger, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Chad and Burundi had the lowest scores in HDI's measurement of national achievements in health, education and income. 

Looking at the widening gap in real terms, a child born in Norway today–the country with the highest human development index–can expect to live beyond the age of 82, and spend almost 18 years in school. 

But the same child, if born in Niger–with the lowest HDI–can expect only to live until they are 60 years old, with just five years of formal education.

“While these statistics present a stark picture in themselves, they also speak to the tragedy of millions of individuals whose lives are affected by inequity and lost opportunities, neither of which are inevitable,” says Achim Steiner, the administrator of UNDP.

Inequality occurs in many countries, including in some of the wealthiest ones, but it ends up taking a much bigger toll on countries with lower HDI levels, as low HDI countries lose almost a third of their human development capacity. For countries with a high HDI, the average loss is 11%.

The overall trend globally is toward continued human development improvements, with many countries moving up through the human development categories, the report said. 

> Women’s Empowerment

A key source of inequality within countries is the gap in opportunities, achievements and empowerment between women and men. On average, HDI for women is 6% lower than that for men, the report suggests.

While there has been “laudable progress” in the number of girls attending school, there remain big differences in other key aspects of men and women’s lives–for instance, labor force participation rates for women globally are lower than for men–49% versus 75%. 

And when women are working, their unemployment rates are 24% higher than their male counterparts. Women globally also do much more unpaid domestic and care work than men.

“Women’s empowerment remains a particular challenge,” UNDP said.

Female life expectancy at birth in Iran is 77.3 and male life expectancy at birth is 75.1. Today’s Iranian school-age females can expect to stay in school for 14.6 years and males to stay for 15.1 years. Women's mean year of schooling is 9.7 years and men's is 9.9 years, according to the report.  

In 2017, Iran’s estimated gross national income per capita for females and males were $6,094 and $32,017, respectively. About 11.4% of Iran’s HDI value is lost on account of inequalities, the report suggests. 

In Iran, despite the significant progress of recent years, women remain significantly less politically empowered than men. 

For instance, women held only 5.9% of parliamentary seats in 2017, as 65.8% of adult women (ages 25 and older) have reached at least a secondary level of education compared to 70.9% of males from 2010-17. 

Female participation in the labor market was 16.8% compared to 71.4% for men.

According to the Gender Inequality Index, Iran has a value of 0.461, which ranks it 109th out of 160 countries in the 2017 index. 

According to the report, East Asia and the Pacific region registered the second highest growth in HDI at 41.8% between 1990 and 2017. However, when adjusted for inequality, the region experienced a 15.6% loss in HDI. While the gender gap between men and women in HDI is 4.3%, below the global average of 6%, women’s share of parliamentary seats remains one of the lowest among developing regions at 19.8%, compared to the global average of 23.5%.

South Asia experienced the fastest HDI growth among developing regions with a 45.3% increase since 1990. During that period, life expectancy grew by 10.8 years, as did expected years of schooling for children (by 21%). 

The loss in HDI due to inequalities is about 26%. South Asia has the widest gap between men and women in HDI at 16.3%. 

Iran is one of the nine countries categorized by UN in South Asia beside Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka. 

 

Iran United Nations Human Development Nations Human Development Index Development Program