China / Society

China's Human Development Index gains highlight great strides

By China Daily ( Updated: 2016-08-22 20:06

With a human development index(HDI) score of 0.727 in 2014, China has become a country with high levels of human development, making it the only country since 1990 to to emerge from a low development level, according to the 2016 China National Human Development report on Monday.

Published by the United Nations Development Programme in China and the Development Research Center of the State Council, the report uses factors regarding income,health and knowledge level to assess the level of social and economic development.

China is currently ranked 90th of 188 countries on the HDI. China's notable achievements include per capita GDP of $7575 in 2014; life expectancy of 74.8, well above the world's average of 70; universal nine year compulsory education and the elimination of illiteracy among young and middle-aged citizens, said Agi Veres, UNDP Resident Representative.

China's rapid economic growth has played a critical role towards its progress in human development.

Between 1980 and 2010, China's income index ranked first in the world, and the contribution of economic growth to its HDI was 56.26 percent. In three decades, around 660 million people were lifted out of poverty, said the report.

At the current rate, China's HDI will increase by 16 percent by 2035, reaching 0.902. In the next 20 years, indicators in education will surpass income as the greatest contributing factor to HDI growth, predicted by the report.

However, the report also highlights issues including an aging population, economic slowdown, population migrations and uneven access to educational and health resources.

"China needs clearer and more specific social policy to help disadvantaged groups," said Gong Sen, the lead author of the report and the director-general of the Institute for Public Administration and Human Resource.

"It is necessary to focus on social investment policies that improve employment, education and healthcare," said Gong. "We also need to moderately restrain social consumption policies like public pensions. China shouldn't become a welfare burdened state."

As for education, Sen recommended promoting equity in education. "We have policies that enroll students based on non-tests quotas and allow teachers to circulate to other schools. We just need to implement these policies more efficiently," he said.

Innovations and improvements in China's education and healthcare system will contribute to the sustainable development of China's economy, and will promote continuous improvement of its inclusive human development, the report concluded.

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