Croatia ranks 47th in the Global Human Development Index

Jul 25, 2014


UNDP's global Human Development Report 2014 presented – „Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience“

ZAGREB, 25 July 2014
- According to the Human Development Index, Croatia ranks 47th out of 187 countries, which puts it in the „very high human development category“, says Human Development Report 2014 presented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Tokyo this week. 

For another year a group of the highest ranked countries is led by Norway, followed by Australia, Netherlands, and United States of America (USA). Democratic Republic of the Congo and Niger continue to round out the list. The assessment is based on the Human Development Index* which UNDP uses from 1990 to measure life expectancy, education opportunities and living standard expressed by GNI per capita. 

Last year Croatia was also ranked at 47 which is below the average of other highly ranked countries, including Slovenia ranked 25, Czech Republic 28, Slovakia 37 and Hungary 43. However, it is better ranked than the other countries of South Eastern Europe, which are also in the group of countries with high Human Development Index, including Bulgaria ranked 58, Serbia 77, FYR Macedonia 84 and Bosnia and Herzegovina 86.

Life expectancy in Croatia is estimated at 77 years, and GNI per capita at USD 19,025. The report also states that the mean years of schooling for Croats are 11 years, while the expected years of schooling are estimated at 14,5 years.

Slowdown of human development

In the analysis of global trends, the report for 2014 highlights a disturbing fact that we are witnessing a slowdown of human development across all regions compared to the period from 2000 to 2008. Mostly due to the effects of financial crises, natural disasters, climate change, fluctuations in food prices and violent conflicts. Long-term vulnerability is one of the main threats to the human development. Almost 1.5 billion people in 91 developing countries are living in poverty with overlapping deprivations in health, education and living standards. And almost 800 million people are at risk of falling back into poverty if setbacks occur.

„By addressing vulnerabilities, all people may share in developmental progress, and human development will become increasingly equitable and sustainable,“ stated UNDP Administrator Helen Clark

The report explores different forms of structural vulnerabilities that can persist over long period of time. These are the result of discrimination and institutional failings hurting poor people, women, migrants, people living with disabilities, indigenous groups, and elders. By introducing the idea of life cycle vulnerabilities, the report states that every person is vulnerable during the first 1 000 days of life, and during the transition periods from school to work, and from work to retirement.

Reducing poverty and people’s vulnerabilities to falling into poverty must be a central objective of the discussion on sustainable goals. The report advocates for the universal provision of basic social services and social protection. The majority of the world's population has no access to social protection system. It is often argued that such systems are too expensive, especially for developing countries. However, simulations suggest that providing basic social security benefits to the world's poor would cost less than 2 percent of global GDP. The report also emphasizes the need for expanding the network of social services with the aim of strengthening the resilience of vulnerable groups of people.

Collective efforts and coordinated action are needed at the global level to reduce vulnerabilities of society to different threats, and to strengthen its ability to cope with the new challenges. Global threats cannot be resolved by individual nations acting independently; they require a new focus from the international communities that goes beyond short term responses like humanitarian assistance. Concluding the report, the United Nations Development Programme therefore calls for an international consensus on universal social security and protection that will be included in the development targets for the period after 2015.


*Human Development Report is an annual publication by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), launched first time in 1990. The report is based on the Human Development Index, and it was created in response to purely economic assessments of national development. This year's report covers 187 countries and territories.

**Human Development Index (HDI) measures average progress of a country in three basic areas: long and healthy life (measured by life expectancy), access to education (measured by mean years of schooling and expected years of schooling) and decent standard of living (measured by GNI per capita). The United Nations Development Programme uses this index for its annual Human Development Report from 1993.