HDI Graph Reflections

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HDI vs Population.JPG

World Cultures HDI vs Population Graph Reflection 9/17/2006 for the Portfolio


Had a lot of "to-be" verbs

After I finished with my HDI versus population graphs, I did not find a very strong correlation between population and HDI. I am guessing that population depends more on the area of the country. In hindsight, I should have done population density versus HDI. Population density equals the number of people in a country divided by the area of it. This would have compensated for having the countries being different size. However, even with population density verses HDI, there still might not have been a trend. One might assume that wealthier societies have more land per person. However, that doesn’t always happen. The country might have a lot of farmland or be comprised of mostly cities. However, the difference would be that cities in those countries would be well furnished. However, this would not show up on the population density verses HDI graph. To sum it up, both poor and rich countries can have cities, and both poor and rich countries might have farmland. Farming, however, does not end up being as productive as industry per unit of land. This again, would be a separate statistic, not represented in the population density versus HDI graph.

However, after the disappointing HDI versus population graph, I added the dominate religion for each country by coloring the countries in different colors. I could see a stronger correlation here. Christian nations seemed to have a higher HDI in relation to Islam and indigenous religions. I am not going to count Japan in this, because it’s the only one with Shintoism, its traditional religion. So why do predominately Christian nation have a higher HDI? I don’t think it has anything to do with the fact that they are Christian. I believe that they are set apart by their geography and history. In the book Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared M. Diamond comments on why Europeans became the most dominate society. He believes that because of the very good temperate climate for growing food in Europe, natives had time to pursue the quest of knowledge. This led them to better agricultural production methods, as well as to war materials and ships. Europeans dominated and defeated any non-Europeans they wanted to and took their land. Europeans mostly are Christian, just by the way Christianity spread. A large number of South Africans converted to Christianity. I don’t think they’re doing any better then their non-Christian counterparts. Also, so far, Christians have managed to remain dominate.

To explain traditional religions, I guess that these countries have more of a traditional economy. Traditional economies focus on maintaining the status quo, not making money or raising your standard of living. These often assign jobs by heredity and caste and technological innovation often are discouraged. I don’t know why Islam nation lag behind. Maybe they can not connect well with the Christian powerhouses. Maybe not. Maybe religion has nothing to do with HDI, and the correlations I saw here are coincidences. It’s possible.

  • Sierra Leone - .275 – Has a very bad HDI meaning people die earlier, can’t get good jobs, and have a much lower status of living then most other countries
  • USA - .937 – It has lots of influence because it has lots of people at a high standard of living. If India or China achieves the same HDI as us, but with lots more people, we will lose influence.
  • Equatorial Guinea - .664 – It doesn’t have many people, but a relative high HDI (for Africa), it doesn’t haven’t much influence, however, because of its low population and size.
  • Germany - .921 – Lower HDI then the USA. Germany has a much higher cost per person of employing someone, therefore more unemployment occurs. Also, the former East-side of Germany continues affect Germany.
  • Sudan - .503 – Sudan has a mid HDI (for Africa) but a relatively high population. They don’t have any money however, so their influence wanes. They might become more influential if their economy grew by a lot, and they stopped needing aid from other countries. However, it might be harder to increase the HDI why you have a large population. This could be a factor in Equatorial Guinea’s large HDI.