According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Human Development Index (HDI) released yesterday, Argentina leads South America in terms of human development, having jumped from 49th place to 40th.
More important than the fact that this gives us one more reason to claim we’re number one at pretty much everything (including hacking and managing taxi fleets), this means we beat Chile, in 42nd place. And any time we beat our trans-Andean neighbor is cause for celebration. Just kidding.
According to the report, Chile and Argentina are the only two South American nations to boast a “very high” HDI. For the 12th year in a row, Norway tops the list, because Norway, and this year is closely followed by Australia and Switzerland. At the bottom of the index are Niger, Central African Republic, Eritrea and Chad.
Each country’s HDI is measured according to three axes: longevity (or life expectancy), education and standard of living based on income (the latter consists of a tricky conversion from the gross national income (GNI) per capita into purchasing power parity (PPP), “to eliminate differences in national price levels.”) In Argentina, average life expectancy hovers at 76.3 years, the average number of years dedicated to education is 9.8 (the ideal being 17.9 years) and the PPP is US$22.05.
There is significant room for improvement when it comes to gender equality, however. When it comes to human development in terms of gender parity, Argentina falls to 75th place, preceded by Uruguay and Chile, in 61st and 65th places, respectively. Other countries in the region lag behind: Peru (82), Ecuador (83), Colombia (92), Bolivia (94), Brazil (97) and Venezuela (103).
The report bases its findings on gender inequality on reproductive health, empowerment and income.
The report found that in Argentina, 69 out of 100,000 women die in childbirth compared to the average 18 out of 100,000 for countries with high HDIs. Argentina’s average is lower than South America’s average (85/100,000) but higher than Chile’s (22/100,000).
Likewise, the toll of teenage pregnancy is high for countries with high HDIs (54.4 per 1,000 girls aged 14 to 19, compared to 19 per 1,000 girls the same age). That number remains lower than the figure for South America and the Carribbean, at 68.3 per 1,000 girls.
In terms of PPP, women in Argentina make a staggering 53.4 percent less than what men earn: US$14.02 compared to US$30.32.