HDR 2011 Challenge

Visualizing Global Human Development

HDR 2011 Challenge Graphic

On November 2nd, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) released the 2011 edition of the influential, editorially independent Human Development Report, including its much-cited Human Development Index (HDI). Combining measures of health, education, and income, the HDI offers one of the most sophisticated and comprehensive statistics of the overall wellbeing of nations.

This year’s Human Development Report focuses on a critical element of the development picture: the interplay between sustainability and inequality. The 2011 Report, Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All, argues that the urgent global challenges of sustainability and equity must be addressed together. Bold action is needed on both fronts, the Report contends, if the recent human development progress for most of the world’s poor majority is to be sustained, for the benefit of future generations as well as for those living today. Past Reports have shown that living standards in most countries have been rising – and converging – for several decades now. Yet the 2011 Report projects a disturbing reversal of those trends if environmental deterioration and social inequalities continue to intensify, with the least developed countries diverging downwards from global patterns of progress by 2050.

The UNDP Human Development Report Office and Visualizing.org challenge you to visualize the interplay between sustainability and human development. Identify a specific question or issue within the HDR 2011 data and use visualization to analyze it and help move toward potential solutions.

Data and Resources

Note: SDMX Files Updated 11/15/2011. There was a data inconsistency in the SDMX version of the download. If you are using the SDMX file, please replace your data with this new download. The data structure remains unchanged; the CSV files have not changed and are correct.

Data set: Human Development Report 2011
The report includes four development indices, each combining a set of indicators to measure an aspect of the overall wellbeing of nations. In addition to the keystone Human Development Index, there are indices of inequality-adjusted development, gender inequality, and poverty. The HDR data set includes all 4 indices as well as the individual indicator scores underlying them. Furthermore, this year’s report introduces 18 new sustainability indicators, offering a wide-ranging perspective on environmental threats and protections. The data is compiled for almost 200 countries and ranges over the last 3-4 decades (where available).

For detailed information about the 2011 Human Development Report, please visit: http://hdr.undp.org.

Included in the Human Development Report data:

  • Human Development Index 2011 (HDI)
  • Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index 2011 (IHDI)
  • Gender Inequality Index 2011 (GII)
  • Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI)
  • Sustainability indicators from the 2011 Report

Note: only these UNDP data sets may be used in this challenge.


The winner will be invited to attend the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from June 4-6, 2012. Travel and accommodations provided courtesy of GE. Please note that this prize can only go to one recipient, though team entries are permitted.

The winner will be announced online on the Human Development Report website, Visualizing.org and featured in a Winner’s Q&A.;


Jean-Yves Hamel, Human Development Report Office, UNDP
Representatives from Visualizing.org


The winning visualization: Worldshapin by Carlo Zapponi.

Read the recap to see the Honorable Mentions and see all of the entries.

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