28 Aug 2012

While the United Nations Human Development Index is quite well-known for its global analysis of human development at the national level, there is a lesser known version that seeks to apply the same basic methodological approach to the European Union's regions. The indices, Human Development Index and Human Poverty Index, were developed for the EU's Fifth Cohesion Report and reveal some interesting findings.

A quick look at the UN's human development index reveals little variation in Europe.

2011 United Nation Human Development Index (Europe)

However, a different perspective can be seen when you look at human development at the regional scale in Europe. By separating the human development and human poverty indices, some interesting contrasts begin to emerge. A number of regions in the UK, Spain, France, Belgium and Italy have both high levels of human development and high levels of human poverty. In contrast, regions in Estonia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland combine both low levels of human development and human poverty.

2007 UN Human Poverty Index Adopted to EU Regions
2007 EU Human Development Index

Scandinavian countries along with Germany, Austria and the Netherlands scored the best in terms of having high levels of regional human development and low levels of human poverty. Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary had a number of regions that scored poorly on both indices.

2007 EU Regional Human Development
and Human Poverty Index

Clearly scale matters, as the global view of Europe's development is starkly different to a more regional view of European Human Development and Poverty. The full EU dataset can be downloaded here.