Social Development


Measuring Social Development

How is social development measured?

When considering how to measure development in a country we normally use economic indicators. But these do not always reflect the standard of living that people in the country experience.

Some indicators we may use are:

-life expectancy 

-literacy rates

-infant mortality rates

- number of people per doctor 

Two areas that are frequently used to measure social development are gender equality and health of citizens 

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Measuring Social Development

Gender-Development indicators based on gender measure the progress a country make towards equal rights for both men and women.

Some indicators that can be used to measure this are:

-male and female literacy rates 

-fertility rate

-male and female life expectancy 

-male and female food consumption 

Gender development index- The gender equality index measures gender inequalities in three key aspects of human development which are: reproductive health, empowerment, economic status. It is designed to expose differences in achievements of men and women 

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Measuring Social Development

Health- development issues based on health measure the progress a country is making towards a healthy lifestyle of its citizens and also the state of the main health services provided within the country. 

Indicators include:

-Average life expectancy

-infant mortality rate 

-% of gross domestic product (GDP) spent on health care

-length of hospital waiting lists and times 

- mortality rates of specific health conditions such as cancer

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Measuring Social Development

Continuum of social development- many of these indicators are interdependent eg.the length of hospital waiting lists may depend on the percentage of GDP spent on healthcare which could influence average life expectancy. We think of Social Development as a continuum because we think it is a process which doesn't have an endpoint. 

It is useful for us to think that the development gap is always changing. For example, as vaccination programmes are put into place in poorer countries, death rates can cut relatively quickly reducing the gap between the rich and the poor. 

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Measuring Social Development

Human Development Index HDI

The Human Development Index is calculated through 4 main indicators which are:

-Average length of schooling in years 

-Literacy Rates

-Gross National Income GNI per capita 

-Life expectancy 

Why is HDI useful?

The HDI brings together social and economic factors and therefore may be more reliable for measuring overall development.

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Measuring Social Development


Social Development- Measure of how well the society is changing for the better or how living standards are improving

Life expectancy- The average age a person is expected to live in a population 

Literacy rates- Percentage of people in a population that knows how to read or write

Infant Mortality rates- number of babies per 1000 live births that die before the age of one 

Fertility rates-Average number of births to a woman in her lifetime 

Gender Inequality Index (GII)- measurement of gender inequality

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