India ranks 132nd out of 191 in UNDP’s human development index

India ranked 132nd among 191 countries and territories on the 2021 Human Development Index (HDI),as per report by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Switzerland has topped the list.

In the 2020 report, India had ranked 131st among 189 countries and territories. The decline in the country’s performance from its previous level was on account of a fall in life expectancy.


HDI rankCountryHDI Value 2021
4Hong Kong, China (SAR)0.952
18United Kingdom0.929
21United States0.921

Among India’s neighbours, Sri Lanka (73rd), China (79th), Bangladesh (129th), and Bhutan (127th) are ranked above India, while Pakistan (161st), Nepal (143rd), and Myanmar (149th) are worse off. The report said around 90 per cent of countries registered a decline in their HDI value in 2020 or in 2021.

India’s latest HDI value of 0.633 places the country in the medium human development category, lower than its value of 0.645 in the 2020 report. The report attributes the drop in HDI from 0.645 in 2019 to 0.633 in 2021 to India’s falling life expectancy — from 69.7 years to 67.2 years during the survey period.

India’s expected years of schooling stands at 11.9 years, down from 12.2 years in the 2020 report, although the mean years of schooling is up at 6.7 years from 6.5 years in the 2020 report.

Although India retained its 132nd position in the Gender Development Index, the female life expectancy dropped from 71 years in the 2020 report to 68.8 years in the 2021 report.

The mean years of schooling for females declined from 12.6 to 11.9 years in the corresponding period.

India scored 0.123 in the Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index (MPI) with a headcount ratio of 27.9 per cent, with 8.8 per cent population reeling under severe multidimensional poverty. Over the last decade, India has lifted a staggering 271 million out of multidimensional poverty, the report noted.

The report notes that people across the globe are feeling more distressed and insecure about their lives and the future, in the wake of the Covid pandemic.

What is HDI?

Pakistani economist Mahbub -ul-Haq developed Human Develo­pment Index (HDI) as a measure to track progress on three key dimen­sions of human development — a long and healthy life, access to education, and a decent standard of living in 1990 with the objective — “people are the real wealth of nations”. It is calculated using the following four indicators – life expectancy at birth, mean years of schooling, expected years of schooling, and the per capita Gross National Income.