What Is The Hdi Of North Korea

Context and Background Information

The Human Development Index (HDI) is an international measure of a country’s development that captures three dimensions of human development—education, health, and income. It is calculated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) each year and provides a comprehensive measure of a country’s economic and social progress. North Korea’s HDI has not been officially measured by the UNDP since 1998, with the last year of record being 1995. This is due to the lack of data from the North Korean government, who are unwilling to provide statistics to the UNDP. As such, the HDI for North Korea is unknown, although it is generally assumed to be lower than in most other countries.


Information on North Korea’s HDI is scarce. One of the only sources of information that exists is a 2011 estimate from the World Bank. This estimate was based on data from the North and South Korean central banks, combined with estimates of health, education, income level and purchasing power parity. According to this estimate, North Korea’s HDI was 0.727 in 1995, placing it within the ‘medium human development’ category. Although this information is ten years old, it is thought that not much has changed since then, and the HDI is still probably in the ‘medium human development’ range.

Analysis of Data

When compared with the rest of the world, the HDI of North Korea is not that bad. Most developed countries have an HDI of at least 0.800 and many developing countries have HDI scores higher than North Korea’s 0.727. North Korea’s HDI score places it in the bottom half of all countries in terms of human development. It is important to note, however, that North Korea’s score was calculated nearly 20 years ago and the country likely has not seen any significant improvements in the past decade.

Perspectives from Experts

Experts suggest that North Korea’s ‘medium human development’ HDI is due to a number of factors. One major factor is the lack of investment in the education and health systems. According to the UNDP, North Korea spends less than 1% of its GDP on education, compared to an average of 5% in high-income countries. The World Health Organisation estimates that North Korea spends less than 3% of its GDP on health, compared to an average of 8% in developed countries. These figures suggest that North Korea’s education and health systems have not been adequately funded or supported by the government.

My Own Insights and Analysis

It is clear that North Korea’s HDI score is below average and has not seen significant improvements since 1995. This is likely due to the government’s lack of investment in education and health systems. It is also important to note that the country has been cut off from the rest of the world for decades due to international sanctions and embargoes, preventing it from accessing the same resources as other countries. This could explain why the country’s HDI score has not seen significant improvement in the past two decades.

Impact of Sanctions

A further cause of North Korea’s low HDI score is the economic sanctions imposed by the international community. These sanctions have been in place for decades and have decimated the North Korean economy. They have cut off the nation’s access to international markets, reducing its ability to generate income and invest in its people. This has had a significant effect on the North Korean people, who are now one of the poorest in the world.

Ongoing Challenges

North Korea faces a range of ongoing challenges that are preventing it from improving its HDI score. The government continues to restrict access to the internet, education and health services for its populace, as well as its limited access to resources due to international sanctions. This has made it difficult for the country to make progress in the areas of human development.

The Role of the International Community

The international community has an important role to play in helping North Korea improve its HDI score. Sanctions and embargoes should be eased to allow the country to access further resources and opportunities. Investment in education and health systems should be increased, while access to the internet should be expanded to allow the North Korean people to access information and opportunities. Finally, the international community should engage in a dialogue with the North Korean government to better understand the needs and concerns of the North Korean people.

The Role of the North Korean Government

The North Korean government also has a responsibility to improve its HDI score. It should increase investment in education and health systems and take steps to diversify the economy. The government should promote access to the internet, allowing its citizens to access information and opportunities. Finally, the government should take steps to improve the standard of living for its people and reduce poverty.

Conclusion of North Korea’s HDI

It is clear that North Korea’s HDI score is lower than most other countries and has not improved significantly in the past two decades. This is due in part to the international sanctions imposed on the country, as well as a lack of investment in education and health systems by the government. However, both the international community and the North Korean government have an important role to play in improving the HDI score. If these steps are taken, it is possible that North Korea’s HDI score could improve and the country would become more developed.

Cassie Grissom is an American journalist and author living in Seoul, South Korea. She has been studying the Korean peninsula since 2011, and her work focuses on understanding human rights issues in North Korea. In addition to her work as an author, Cassie is an active advocate for human rights in North Korea. She regularly shares stories about life in North Korea with international audiences to raise awareness of the plight of its citizens.

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