2019 Human Development Report to focus on inequality

March 21, 2019

Fatema Bhaji (center) speaks on a panel about “tipping points” for LGBTI issues in South Asia. Photo: Salzburg Global Seminar/ProVision Photography.

The report, to be released in the last quarter of the year, will provide a comprehensive picture of the many forms of inequality that are shaping the 21st Century.

New York, 21 March 2019 - Today’s world remains deeply unfair. The life and prospects faced by a newborn in a poor country or in a poor household are radically different from those of wealthier children. In all societies, long-standing forms of inequality persist while gaps are opening in new aspects of life. The 2019 Human Development Report will focus on understanding the dimensions of inequality most important to people’s well-being, and what is behind them.

“While many believe inequality is critically important, there is much less agreement on why it matters and what to do about it. We need to sharpen measurement to better describe what inequality looks like and to have a deeper understanding of how inequality will change given the economic, social and environmental transformations that are unfolding worldwide. Only then can we design the policy options that could effectively tackle it.”– said Pedro Conceição, Director of the Human Development Report Office at UNDP.

The report will go beyond the dominant discourse focused on income disparities to also consider inequalities in other dimensions such as health, education, access to technologies, and exposure to economic and climate-related shocks. It will use new data and methods that will highlight, in a way that measures based on averages cannot, how inequality affects people’s lives; and it will take a long-term view towards 2030 and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and beyond.

“We are witnessing both convergence and divergence in human development. For instance, in many countries today, gaps have closed when we talk about access to primary education. But differences between children in poor and wealthy households are widening in both early childhood and quality of education. These inequalities will have lifetime consequences, particularly given the rapid technological changes, which are likely to impact labour markets. This is just one example of why our analysis of inequality must go beyond income, beyond averages and beyond today.”, explained Mr. Conceição.

The 2019 report builds upon the rich history of human development reporting in pioneering new measures of development and upon new partnerships with global experts at the World Inequality Lab, the LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg and others.


For regular updates on the 2019 HDR please visit: http://hdr.undp.org/en/towards-hdr-2019


Anna Ortubia/ anna.ortubia@undp.org / +1 212 906 5964

UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in nearly 170 countries and territories, we offer a global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. www.undp.org.