Iran's Human Development Index on the decline

By bne IntelliNews November 8, 2023

New data released by the Iranian Labour Ministry shows a considerable drop in the country’s Human Development Index, local newspaper Jahan-e Sana’at reported on November 8.

The HDI is a summary composite measure of a country's average achievements in three basic aspects of human development, namely health, knowledge and standard of living. The index is represented by a number between zero and one, with bigger numbers showing a better state of human development.

The most recent figure for Iran in March 2022-23 Persian calendar year was 0.774, placing the country at the 76th rank in the world.

This marks a deterioration compared with two years earlier, when the HDI of 0.783 had put Iran at the 70th place.

Four years before that last measurement, when sanctions had not yet fully impacted the Iranian economy, Iran ranked 60th in the world in terms of HDI.

Life expectancy in Iran has dropped to 73.9 years, down from 76.7 two years before the latest statistics were released.

Fatalities caused by COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases, high rates of traffic accidents, increase in rates of morality as a result of natural disasters and work accidents, rise in food, air, electromagnetic, noise and water pollution, are among the causes of decline in life expectancy in Iran.

School life expectancy, on the other hand, increased from 10.3 years to 10.6 over the two-year period.

The figure is challenged, however, by Masoumeh Najafi Pazouki, deputy minister of education, who said last year that school drop-out rates at the elementary level had reached 211,000, up from 162,000 six years earlier.

The rates of economic participation by the over 15-year-old population have seen a 2% rise, indicating the fact that students are quitting education to enter the labour market, naturally for low-income jobs due to disqualification for enjoying legal employment benefits.

Average years of schooling in Iran is not only much lower than developed countries, such as the US and Germany with average school life expectancy of 14 years, but also neighbouring states like Russia and Saudi Arabia do better than Iran with over 13 years.

A decade of meagre economic growth and high inflation rates in Iran has also affected the index by reducing the per capita income.  



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