How is social development measured?
There’s more to development than economic indicators!
The concept of development is linked to the idea of progress and civilisation. Obviously, there is more to development than just money! Below are some of the most important social measures and their limitations.
Literacy Rate – % of people who can read and write
It is difficult to carry out surveys in war zones or squatter settlements in LICs
People per doctor – the number of people who rely on a single doctor to meet their needs
In rural areas in NEEs people are using their mobile phones to get medical advice and this is not included in official data
Infant mortality rate – the number of babies that die within their first year, per 1000 live births
Not all births are recorded in poor countries. Also, deaths of children are not always recorded.
Life expectancy – the average age people can expect to live to
Where infant mortality is high the life expectancy for those people who survive childhood is much higher than the average.
Access to safe water – % of people who have access to water that is safe to drink without the risk of contracting waterborne diseases such as cholera
Water quality can change rapidly as the result of flooding. As water becomes more expensive in cities less wealthy people may be forced to use unsafe water.
There is always a strong correlation between social development measures and economic measures like GNI per capita.
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