Kyrgyzstan is in the medium human development category, says UNDP report

December 16, 2020

A migrant from Kyrgyzstan came to vote for 2020 Parliamentary Elections at the Kyrgyz Consulate in Almaty, Kazakhstan. More and more Kyrgyz citizens leaving the country to earn money. Photo: Peter Trotsenko / UNDP Kyrgyzstan

Bishkek, 16 December 2020 The 30th anniversary edition of the Human Development Report, The Next Frontier: Human Development and the Anthropocene, introduces a new experimental lens to its annual HDI. The report argues that as people and the planet enter an entirely new geological epoch, the ‘Anthropocene’ or the ‘Age of Humans’, all countries must redesign their paths to progress by fully accounting for the dangerous pressures that humans put on the planet, and dismantle the gross imbalances of power and opportunity that prevent change.

By adjusting the HDI, two more elements are included: a country’s carbon dioxide emissions and its material footprint. The index therefore shows how the global development landscape would change if both people’s wellbeing and also the planet are central to defining humanity’s progress.

With the resulting Planetary-Pressures Adjusted HDI – or PHDI - a new global picture emerges, painting a less encouraging but clearer assessment of human progress. For example, more than 50 countries drop out of the very high human development group, reflecting their dependence on fossil fuels and material footprint. The next frontier for human development will require working with and not against nature, while transforming social norms, values, and government and financial incentives, the report argues.

National Park "Kyrgyz Ata" in Nookat, Osh region. A woman is cooking for tourists as the government and UNDP strive to attract more visitors to support the local economy. Photo: Dmitry Motinov / UNDP Kyrgyzstan

“In this year’s Human Development Report, we see a great wake-up call that we cannot continue with business as usual that leads to deforestation, global warming, and climate change. It is time to change our relationship with the planet — to make energy and material consumption sustainable, and to ensure young people are educated and empowered to appreciate the wonders that a healthy world can provide. In the context of Kyrgyzstan, we see that there needs to be whole of society solutions that integrate nature into the equation,” said Louise Chamberlain, Resident Representative of the UNDP Country Office in the Kyrgyz Republic.

Kyrgyzstan ranks 120 out of 189 countries and territories on the Human Development Index (HDI), according to data for 2019 which put the country in the medium human development category. The HDI measures national progress in health, education and standard of living and is annually published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in its Human Development Report.

The Human Development Report consists of five key composite indices of human development: the HDI, the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI), the Gender Development Index (GDI), the Gender Inequality Index (GII), and the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI).

Kyrgyzstan ranks worse in the Gender Development Index (GDI) with an index of 0.957 in comparison with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. This index measures gender differences in the HDI indicators regarding three basic dimensions of human development: health, education and command over economic resources. Photo: Peter Trotsenko / UNDP Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan’s 2019 HDI of 0.697 is above the average of 0.631 for countries in the medium human development group and below the average of 0.791 for countries in Europe and Central Asia. From Europe and Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan HDI ranking of 120 is comparable with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, which have rankings of 125 and 106, respectively.

While Kyrgyzstan’s HDI is at 0.697, when the index discounts average values according to inequality, the HDI falls to 0.630, a loss of 9.6 percent, due to inequality in the distribution of the HDI dimension indices. This means that inequality cancels away almost 10 percent from the quality of human development in Kyrgyzstan. In comparison, Tajikistan has a higher loss due to inequality-12.6 percent. Meanwhile, the average loss due to inequality for medium HDI countries is 26.3 percent and for Europe and Central Asia it is 11.9 percent.

Kyrgyzstan ranks worse in the Gender Development Index (GDI) with an index of 0.957 in comparison with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. This index measures gender differences in the HDI indicators regarding three basic dimensions of human development: health (measured by female and male life expectancy at birth), education (measured by female and male expected years of schooling for children and mean years of schooling for adults aged 25 years and older) and command over economic resources (measured by female and male estimated GNI per capita).

According to Gender Inequality Index (GII), which reflects gender-based inequalities in three dimensions – reproductive health, empowerment, and economic activity, Kyrgyzstan’s ranks at 82 out of 162 countries in the 2019 index. In Kyrgyzstan, 19.2 percent of parliamentary seats are held by women, and 99.1 percent of adult women have reached at least a secondary level of education compared to 98.3 percent of their male counterparts. For every 100,000 live births, 60.0 women die from pregnancy-related causes; and the adolescent birth rate is 32.8 births per 1,000 women of ages 15-19. Female participation in the labor market is 44.8 percent compared to 75.7 for men. In comparison, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are ranked at 70 and 62, respectively, on this index.

Kyrgyz Government and UNDP target quality service provision to the public as legal, youth and other information centers open across the country. Photo: Dmitry Motinov / UNDP Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan’s persisting inequalities have created high rates of multidimensional poverty. In Kyrgyzstan, 0.4 percent of the population (25 thousand people) are multidimensionally poor while an additional 5.2 percent are classified as vulnerable to multidimensional poverty (330 thousand people). The breadth (intensity) of deprivation in Kyrgyzstan is 36.3%, which is the average deprivation score of people experiencing multidimensional poverty. Income poverty only tells part of the story. The multidimensional poverty headcount in Kyrgyzstan is 0.5 percentage points lower than income poverty. This implies that individuals living below the income poverty line may have access to non-income resources.

The data captured in this report depict the state of human development before the COVID-19 pandemic based on available data for 2019 and earlier years. Data reflecting changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and its socioeconomic fallout in 2020 will be available in 2021 and will be presented in tables and related analyses of the 2021 Human Development Report.

Contact for media: Ainagul Abdrakhmanova, Communications Officer, tel +770 18343, E-mail:

To learn more about the 2020 Human Development report and UNDP’s analysis on the experimental Planetary Pressures-Adjusted HDI, visit