Where We Work: The Human Development Index

Ever wonder just how poor the countries we work in are? Thanks to Google’s Public Data Explorer, now you can easily visualize complex data like the UN’s Human Development Index (HDI). The HDI is an attempt to measure how well-developed a country is, based on a long and healthy life, knowledge and a decent standard of living.

In the interactive graph below, each blue line represents a country’s HDI score (the U.S. is third from the left). The other colors on the graph represent countries in which LWR has long-term development projects. Feel free to hover your mouse over the graph and explore:

One thing that I find fascinating is to change the timeline (by pulling the bottom slider back and forth) and watching the lines grow, relative to one another.

It’s often easy to get discouraged by the images and headlines we’re bombarded with that seem to say that things like hunger and poverty are just as bad today as they have been for decades. Even the photo at the top of this post can lend to a pessimistic view of the developing world. Though a beautiful photo, it hardly seems like an easily inhabitable place.Yet efforts to stop encroaching desert, planting climate-appropriate crops and providing proper irrigation can go a long way in helping people make a decent living and feed their families.

This interactive graph is a small reminder that the work of organizations like LWR is making a difference. Every country on the graph has a higher HDI score now than they did 10 years ago. And even though we have a long way to go before everyone, everywhere has a long healthy life, knowledge and decent standard of living, we’re on our way.