Human development is the name given to the process of increasing the opportunities and freedom of individuals while creating economic growth.

Human Development is a set of values that directly concern and affect human life, such as inclusive sustainable growth, democratic governance, climate change, and the environment. It is a concept related to the enrichment of human life beyond the wealth of the economies in which people live. Human development is an approach that focuses on people themselves and their opportunities. Human development is about giving people more freedom and opportunity to live the life they want. In doing so, it also requires respecting the lives of other people and living things with whom we share the planet, including future generations.

At the heart of human development lies the skills and capability approach. Skills and capabilities are the tools that determine what people can do in their lives. Human development is about acquiring the skills and capabilities that will enable the individual to pursue a satisfying life—however they define it. Thus, the degree to which individuals can access the opportunities that will make their life more fulfilling is a key question for human development.

The three dimensions in the United Nations’ Human Development Index constitute the essential elements of human development, which is a multidimensional concept. These three basic dimensions are:

  • to live a long, healthy, and creative life
  • to have the opportunity to receive education and other crucial knowledge and information
  • to access the necessary resources for a decent life.

When these essential elements for human development are provided, opportunities for advancement and development in other areas of life consequentially increase. On the other hand, new sub-indices have been added to these three fundamental variables of the Human Development Index over time. These are the Inequality-Adjusted Human Development, Gender-Based Development, Gender Inequality, and Multidimensional Poverty Indices. These new indices provide a summary of human development status of different countries around the world.

Human development essentially means more choice and more opportunity and thus these should be the primary indicators in human development.

No one can guarantee human happiness, and people’s choices throughout life are their own. However, human development at least focuses on providing the conditions necessary for all people, individually or collectively, to develop their own potential and lead a productive and creative life.