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Iran Ranked over Turkey, Brazil in UN Development Index

by KEVAN HARRIS

12 Nov 2010 19:0011 Comments

konkoor.jpg[ primer ] Iranians are doing better in health and education than their counterparts in key countries in the developing world, according to a new U.N. report. The 2010 U.N. Human Development Report ranks Iran at 70 out of 169 countries -- higher than Brazil at 73, Venezuela at 75, and Turkey at 83.

The report finds:

* In 1985, Iran ranked below Algeria, Botswana, Jordan, and Thailand. In 2010, all four now rank lower than Iran, despite their own impressive gains in development.

* Out of 112 countries, Iran ranked 18th in highest average annual improvement in the human development index over the two decades between 1990 and 2010.

* Iran ranks higher than Turkey on education (notably higher), but slightly under on health (life expectancy). The overall index puts Iran above Turkey because of the way separate components are compiled. The report puts life expectancy in Iran at 71.91 years, Turkey at 72.23 years.

The Human Development Index, introduced in 1990, measures development beyond the barometers of a country's wealth. It includes health, represented by life expectancy. It also includes education, represented by the average years of schooling. Since economic growth and improvements in health and education do not always advance together, the Human Development Report highlights "the imperfect nature of wealth as a gauge of human development."

National wealth, especially for resource-rich countries like Iran, can often mask poor health and education. In Iran's case, however, its improvements in health and education far outpace its economic growth, which has been sporadic over the past two decades. "The manner in which countries spend their wealth, not the wealth itself, is decisive," the new report explains.

Among Iranians born after the 1979 Revolution, literacy is now nearly universal. Basic health care is provided free to Iran's rural villages through a system of "health houses." After a pragmatic discussion over the need for birth control and its acceptability in Islam in the late 1980s, married couples have been encouraged to limit their family size to two children.

The current "baby boom" generation of Iranian youth is quite large relative to the country's population. Yet the stark reduction in the country's birth rate, partly due to Iran's improvements in access to health and education, ensures that this lop-sided youth "bulge" will not continue as the population ages. In this regard, Iran is better situated than Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, and Pakistan, countries that all now have higher birth rates.

The report's key insight is "good things don't always come together." A country may show poor outcomes for one measure of development, while in others it exhibits significant gains. The report's new data indicates this trend is particularly true for Iran's post-revolutionary era.

The report's country page on Iran can be found here.

Kevan Harris, who frequently travels to Iran, is a doctoral candidate in sociology at Johns Hopkins University. He recently traveled throughout Iran for a year doing research. He writes a weblog called "The Thirsty Fish." This article is presented by Tehran Bureau, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars as part of the Iran project at iranprimer.usip.org.

also by kevan harris | The Bazaar | The Critical Turn of Ulema-State Relations

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11 Comments

Another article trying to show the Islamic Republic in a more positive light?!

Why not an article on how IR is in the top 10% of countries in the world when it comes to CORRUPTION, Human Rights abuses and Executions (NUMBER ONE) and how the rate of increase in PROSTITUTION, THEFT and crimes are much higher than similar countries and relative to what it was in Iran before IR?

Maziar Irani / November 13, 2010 4:11 AM

How could this be?

I'd read that Iran is a totalitarian fascist state where everything is monstrously terrible.

Now you're telling me something else?

Oh, I see: before you were using perspectives from anti-Iran, exiled pundits and here you're actually using scientifically acquired data. Well... there you go.

Pirouz / November 13, 2010 4:32 AM

Maziar Irani ( i am astonished!) seems to be hell bent on belittling his own country. if the HRD indicators are impressive it is the fact and that both the pre 1979 and post 1979 governments in Iran have contributed to that. REmember always give the devil his share whether crowned or turbaned!!!!!!

Naqi Akbar / November 15, 2010 1:56 PM

which development they are talking about:
1- killing people
2- raping people
3- thousands in prison
4- Iran developments are pre 1979
5- training terrorist is the most important developments this regime had.
6- we have university graduate but all moving out of country and there is no job for some one with education, most jobs are for moron basijies and pasdaran and basterds of mullahs with no education and no brain and that's why we have bankrupt country and our wealth and money are in turkey,brasil,us,canada,england and russia,china and every other bloody country on earth execpt Iran.If bloody this is development then what you call developed countries.

AFSHIN / November 16, 2010 3:07 AM

turbaned devil!!!!!!Naqi Akbar,

You can have my share.

Niloofar / November 17, 2010 5:16 PM

AFSHIN Joon, you are reading this all wrong. Allow me to clarify for you. Numbers refer to your numerated items:

1- Express service to heaven if not guilty - a mulla actually said that - what's wrong with that?

2- Free sxx for raped and free "hajj-e tammatto" for rapist - ayatollah Jannati (or was it mesbah?) who said the latter.

3- the true meaning of a free lunch far a lot of people.

4- Was waste of beit-al-maal since mullas destroyed it anyway.

5- Dr. Abbasi said that was cheaper and more efficient than having an arms for defense of the country.

6- Education corrupts the minds, so the more leave the country the better. Ayatollh khomeini said that long time ago that all troubles of this country comes from universities.

Convinced?

Interpreter / November 18, 2010 1:42 AM

Wow, great news. Going back and forth to Iran I always sensed that there was a lot of progress being made in a lot of differnt areas. It's nice to see that this is true.

Mazyar / November 18, 2010 7:55 PM

As a non-Iranian, it looks clear to me that many Iranians who are doggedly against the government are vindictive and have a complex. This was a straightforward news item that boasted some of the country's stride, and to see you've found reason to attack the regime in this simple article reveals how deep the complexes of some go.

Regimes and governments have good players and bad players, good decisions and bad ones. Rather than throw the baby out with the bath water, perhaps you should be more pointed in your arguments. That way, you don't look as generic with your attacks and hence silly.

Aerodog / November 19, 2010 12:41 AM

Aerodog:If you are not Iranian you simply don't know what Iranians have endured.Don't judge what you clearly don't understand,silly hence generic man.

Sheyda / November 20, 2010 12:31 AM

Many oppressive setups have impressive HRD indicators. take the example of Kashmir in sub continent. Pakistan controlled kashmir is poor economically and low in HRD, while Indian controled is impressive both ways; people have made their name in medicine, creative arts and other sector; however the self determination struggle is more elaborate in Indian side as people maturity and awakening is greater. so both things sometimes go side by side. HRD infleunces civil society responses and the same translates into conflict with the established order. so what is happening in Iran is part of the real development timeline and mind you every country has its own..

Naqi Akbar / November 25, 2010 11:28 AM

Wow' great news.at last truth has come out iran is a very good country who stands against the worlds big dogs like USA etc .people who think that iran is not good as mentioned in report are the sick ones who are jeolus abt iran and fear that islam is rising

Irfan kashmiri / November 28, 2010 7:16 PM