The Baltic Region

2017 Vol. 9 № 3

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Human Development Index as a Tool to Assess Social Development in the Baltic States



Reinvigorating Russia’s development strategy requires a comparison between the social development of the Russian Federation and other Baltic region states, some of which are world leaders in terms of living standards. The most popular tools for country comparison are composite indices that take into account various components affecting the quality of life. This article analyses the current level and changes in the social development of the Baltic States in 1990—2016. The analysis is based on the values of human development index. Having distinct advantages and disadvantages, this index remains to be the most popular and influential tool for assessing a country’s social development. A statistical analysis carried out with the use of HDI values makes it possible to divide the Baltic States into three groups according to their current development level and advancement trajectories. The greatest gap in progress was observed in 2000. Later, it narrowed as the social advancement of the third group — Lithuania, Latvia, and Russia — accelerated. The nature of the Baltic States’ social improvement in 2015—2016 suggests that a decrease in social development rates will be observed in the coming years across the region, and the gap between the countries will increase.


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