A Decade of Change – Ethiopia

It was UNDP’s press release that announced Ethiopia’s astounding achievement in Human Development in this decade. The press release titled ‘Ethiopia is among the top development movers’ [posted on this blog] states:

Ethiopia is rated among these ”top movers” at rank 11 out of the 135 countries which registered improvement in Human Development Index that stretched the rating between 1970 and 2010. While assessing the achievement status of same countries between 2000 and 2010, Ethiopia’s status goes up to put the country 2nd rank.

Same measurement was also conducted between 2005 and 2010. According to the measurement done between 2005 and 2010, Ethiopia’s position comes at the top of the top movers of the development achievers.

This uplifting announcement triggers a couple of questions that this post intends to address by breaking down of the underlying data.

How come Ethiopia’s ranked 11th in the 40 years measurement achievement status? Has Ethiopia been progressing fast-tracking all this time? Or is it the achievement of the last decade that pushed the 40 years average up? Again, how much did Ethiopia achieve in each area so as to be the 2nd and 1st top achiever in this decade and the last 5-years, respectively?

In other years, you would have to go through the incomplete HDI data and then look for relevant researchers of the Human Development Report Office(HDRO).

But not this time.

For the first time, UNDP prepared, and made it accessible online in xls format, a dataset that resolves one of the obstacles to carrying out a comparative assessment of HDI data over time. That is, the 2010 Report Hybrid-HDI data of trends analysis, which contains annual data, covering 135 countries, from 1970 to 2010.

And, you have this blog committed to informing you without mingling facts and opinions.

Thus, read below my summary of the 40 years data in graph and tabular form with brief explanatory notes. Though the Hybrid-HDI dataset contains an annual data of 40 years, I had to condense it in 5 years interval so that the graphs and tables can be visible, given the width of my blog.

You may download the data [HERE]. You may find a useful introduction to the Hybrid-HDI dataset can be found in section 2 of a paper by HDRO researchers, titled Understanding Performance in Human Development: A Cross National Study. Human Development Research Paper 2010/42, (by Zachary Gidwitz, et al)[HERE]

If you find the explanatory notes below insufficient and the research paper too long, don’t hesitate to contact me and/or put forward your questions in the comments space below.


Hybrid HDI score and rank trend

Ethiopia’s Hybrid-HDI score is the mathematical average(geometric mean) of its scores in Health index, Education index and Income index.

New Picture (2)

1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010
Hybrid HDI values 0.19 0.21 0.23 0.24 0.26 0.26 0.30 0.36 0.41
Health Index 0.36 0.38 0.38 0.39 0.43 0.46 0.50 0.53 0.57
Education Index 0.08 0.11 0.16 0.19 0.21 0.20 0.29 0.38 0.44

New Picture (4)

1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010
Hybrid HDI
132 131 130 131 130 129 128 126 124

1. Life expectancy(years)

Life expectancy years is used to compute the Health index.(See the formula at the bottom)

Portfolio file 10

1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010
Life Expectancy(years) 42.9 44.2 43.9 44.5 47.0 49.2 51.4 53.8 56.1

2. Literacy and Combined gross enrolment rates

Literacy rate and Combined gross enrolment rate are used to compute the Literacy index(Litx) and  Combined gross enrolment rate index(GERx), respectively.

Then, the Education index(Edux) will be computed from the Litx and GERx scores.

Education index is one of the three indices on which the human development index is built. It is based on the adult literacy rate and the combined gross enrolment ratio for primary, secondary and tertiary schools.

2.1 Literacy index and Literacy rate

Literacy index is one of the inputs used to calculate the Education index of HDI.

Literacy index is calculated from Literacy rate.

Adult literacy rate is the proportion of the adult population aged 15 years and older which is literate, expressed as a percentage of the corresponding population (total or for a given sex) in a given country, territory, or geographic area, at a specific point in time, usually mid-year. For statistical purposes, a person is literate who can, with understanding, both read and write a short simple statement on their everyday life.

Portfolio file 2

1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010
Literacy Index 0.11 0.14 0.17 0.20 0.24 0.28 0.33 0.37 0.42

Portfolio file 6

1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010
Adult Literacy Rate 10.7 13.6 16.5 20.1 23.7 27.9 32.3 36.9 41.6

2.2 Combined gross enrolment rate and index

Combined gross enrolment ratio is the number of students enrolled in primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the population of theoretical school age for the three levels.

Portfolio file 8

1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010
Combined Gross Enrolment Rate Index 0.06 0.08 0.15 0.17 0.18 0.15 0.25 0.38 0.46

Portfolio file 5

1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010
Combined Gross Enrolment Rate 7.4 9.7 16.9 20.2 20.3 16.9 29.1 44.2 53.2

3. Income index

The income index is computed from GDP per capita.

GDP per capita Gross domestic product
(GDP) in US dollar terms, divided by midyear
population. When expressed as an average
annual growth rate, the least squares annual
growth rate is used with constant GDP per
capita data in local currency units.

Portfolio file 4

1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010
Income Index 0.21 0.21 0.22 0.19 0.20 0.18 0.19 0.22 0.28

Portfolio file 3

1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010
GDP per capita, PPP$ 645 645 658 541 591 526 572 685 991


HDI and Hybrid-HDI, what’s the difference?

Human Development Index is a composite index measuring average achievement in three basic dimensions of human development—a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living.

The HDI value of a country is calculated based on its score in Health index, Education index and Income index. Until this year, the Education index was computed from  a country’s score in literacy and gross enrollment and the Income index was calculated from GDP per capita.

However, the Human Development Report Office(HRDO) introduced this year some changes necessary for current and future assessments. Given the global progress in literacy and gross enrolment, the Education Index should better be computed from ‘mean years of schooling’  and expected years of schooling’. Moreover, the HDRO believes, given the effects of globalization, it would be better to compute Income index from Gross National Income(GNI, formerly called GNP) per capita, rather than from GDP per capita.

Nonetheless, HDRO researchers assert:

for the purposes of historical assessment, it makes more sense to use the original indicators (life expectancy, literacy, gross enrolment and per capita GDP) as they are more broadly available in terms of both in time and in country coverage and remain meaningful for this type of long run analysis.

Thus, HDRO provided, for the purpose of trends analysis, a Hybrid Human Development Index(Hybrid-HDI) that uses the same functional form as the current HDI but uses literacy and gross enrollment to build the education index and GDP per capita for the income index.


Shortened form Equation
Hybrid HDI Hybrid HDI values, HDI=(Lifex*EDUx*GDPx)^(1/3)
HDI Rank Hybrid HDI ranks
Life Life Expectancy
Lifex Health Index, Lifex=(Life-20)/(83.166(Japan,2010)-20)
Lit Adult Literacy Rate
Litx Literacy Index, Litx=(Lit-0)/(99(several countries, several years)-0)
GER Combined Gross Enrolment Rate
GERx Combined Gross Enrolment Rate Index, GERx=(GER-0)/(115.8192(Australia,2002)-0)
EDUx Education Index, EDUx=(Litx*GERx)^(1/2)
GDP GDP per capita, PPP$
GDPx Income Index, GDPx=(ln(GDP)-ln(163.28143(Liberia,1995))/(ln(106769.74(UAE, 1977))-ln(163.28143(Liberia,1995))

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Daniel Berhane

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