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Mexico Moving Forward in Human Development: What Really Matters!

23 June 2011 2 Comments

During the last years there has been a great debate in Mexico about the rhythm of its economic growth. It has been slower than some emergent countries and definitely lower than what has been reached by countries in LatinAmerica. One particular concern has been about its income per capita, which has also grown at a much lower rhythm than expected. This has been a source of severe criticism about the path of the economic policy and the future towards which the country is going.

Nevertheless, according to the UN, economic growth and the growth of per capita income are just some of the factors that affect directly a country’s human development. The organisation states that the best measure to assess human development has to be done on a multidimensional basis, in a way that it allows to revise many other fundamental aspects of human development. Consequently, it publishes the Human Development Index (HDI) which considers among others, (1) each country’s per capita income –which obviously has a relevant impact in quality life, (2) its population access to a long and healthy life through its life expectancy at birth, and (3) its access to knowledge through its mean and expected years of schooling. In this way, the HDI takes into account a series of dimensions that are necessary to evaluate in order to clearly see the advances made in the subject.

According to Human Development Report of 2010, Mexico has had great advances from 1990 to 2008. In fact, it is considered within the Group of High Human Development countries. Mexico ranks 56 of 194 countries, and it is has the fourth place within the ranking of LatinAmerican countries. Surprisingly, given that it is one of the biggest economies in the region, it is also the best positioned. On the other hand, compared with the BRIC group, Mexico has a HDI significantly higher than any of them.

These results are the accomplishment of a road taken. Back in 1980 Mexico was at half ranking within LatinAmerica and since that date it has taken off to fight the first place with Chile, Argentina and Uruguay. These last countries where in that time in a much better situation than Mexico. And when reviewing the HDI change in time, it appears that Mexico’s has had a growth of 30% those 30 years. A rate that is much superior to those of the region, including that of Uruguay with 14% and Argentina’s with 18%.

Mexico’s progress has been importantly fostered by commitments made to its health and social policies. So, even though other countries have experienced a growth in their income, Mexico has found its way to come forward in other dimensions. There are still important pending issues in terms of achieving higher levels of per capita income and education, but the steps forward are undeniable. This brings the need to acknowledge the commitment that Mexico has had with the health conditions of its people, as well as the need to acknowledge that progress is visible. What is needed is velocity in other aspects. Lets acknowledge the accomplished results and ask ourselves what has worked and what is missing- not as something wrong- but to provide it in order to achieve the next level. Anything that is missing is an opportunity for your leadership to put in.



  • Richard said:

    Mexico is indeed doing very well on the UN’s HDI. We should also take a look at the UN’s IHDI which is “Inequality Adjusted Human Development Index”. Mexico does a bit less well on IHDI because there is great inequality here. Many urban and nothern areas have impressive HDIs, but southern rural areas, especially indigenous rural areas, have very low HDIs about the same as many African countries. But inequalities in education are declining rapidly and overall all areas of this great country are improving.

  • Jorge (author) said:

    Thank you Richard.
    Acknowledging where we stand is a powerful way to see what is missing. We tend to make ourselves wrong when something is missing. Having some areas with much more inequality than others is not wrong. There are only missing things. Also, there lies an opportunity for someone´s leadership to provide what is missing and make a difference. By acknowledging the progress we reinforce the ways of being and policies of those who make a difference in improving living standards.

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