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Timor-Leste Human Development Barely Changes

As reported in 2011 UNDP Human Development Report

3 November 2011.  Updated 6 Nov. 2011

Laiha Mudansa ba Dezenvolvimentu Umanu Timor-Leste nian iha 2009

Hanesan relata iha relatoriu Dezenvolvimentu Umanu UNDP nian iha 2011

3 Novembru 2011

Link to pages on the 2013 report, 2010 report or the 2011 National Human Development Report.

Liga ba pajina web kona ba Relatoriu 2013, Relatoriu 2010 ka Relatoriu Nasional ba 2011.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) issues a Human Development Report almost every year. The edition published on 2 November 2011 is entitled “Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All.” In addition to the thematic discussion and a wealth of statistical data on health, education, gender, economics and other factors, the UNDP calculates a “Human Development Index” (HDI) for each country. The HDI combines life expectancy, education (school enrollment) and gross national income (GNI) to produce a composite measure of human development.

The 2011 report, based mainly on data from 2009, calculated a HDI for Timor-Leste of 0.495, ranking 147th of 187 countries with data. This is not much different from the previous report.  UNDP revised their methodology once again, reducing the effect of oil income and making the index somewhat more useful than it was last year. However, they continue to use outdated (2001) data for education in Timor-Leste and projections (from the 2004 census and 2009-10 Demographics and Health Survey) for life expectancy, as information from the 2010 census was published after the data for this report was compiled. Link to UNDP's Timor-Leste-specific press release, statistical summary and explanatory note.

Using the current methodology, last year Timor-Leste's 2010 HDI was 0.491 (ranking 147/187) and its score in 2009 was 0.487 (rank 135/174), showing no significant changes. In fact, nearly all the variation in Timor-Leste's HDI since 2005 can be explained by oil revenues, whose value has been reduced by inflation in recent years.

UNDP highlights 10-year changes in HDI for each country, pointing out that Timor-Leste's HDI has improved 22% since the 2001 Human Development Report.  That report, based on 1999 data while this country was being destroyed in the final months of the Indonesian occupation, is not an appropriate reference point for this country.

Timor-Leste’s Human Development Index 2009 (from 2011 report)
Timor-Leste nia Indeksu Dezenvolvimentu Umanu 2009 (husi relatoriu 2011)
Rank and countryHDI valueLife expectancy at birth
Mean years of schoolingExpected years of schoolingGNI per capita
(PPP 2005 US$)
GNI per capita rank minus HDI rankNon-income HDI value
 Valor HDIHahe'in moris
  GNI kada ema
(PPP 2005 US$)

La'o Hamutuk note for Timor-Leste data.

Calculated from the next four columns.Extrapolated from 2004 census.Based on World Bank data from 2001.More than 3/4 of TL's GNI is oil and gas revenues.A negative number means quality of life is lower than income could pay for.Based only on health and education .

1. Norway (best)


2. Australia

26. Singapore.86681.18.814.452,569-22.851

61. Malaysia


100. Fiji


124. Indonesia

142. Solomon Islands.51067.94.59.11,78210.567

145. Pakistan


146. Bangladesh


147. Timor-Leste








148. Angola


149. Myanmar (Burma)


153. Papua New Guinea


187. Congo (DRC) (worst)



.68269.87.411.310,082 .683
Medium HDI.63069.76.211.25,276 .658


.45658.74.28.31,585 .478

East Asia-Pacific

.67172.47.211.76,466 .709
The graph at right shows how Timor-Leste's Human Development Index has changed over time. Each year's score, which represents data from approximately two years earlier, has been calculated using the methodology from the 2011 Human Development Report. The green circles show the index itself, while the dashed green line indicates, on a scale of 0 to 1, how Timor-Leste ranks among the other countries in the world. Between last year and this year, Timor-Leste slipped from the Medium Human Development category to Low Human Development, largely because other countries improved more than we did.

The solid red squares show the index calculated with last year's (2010) methodology, while the dashed red line indicates, on a scale of 0 to 1, how Timor-Leste ranked among the other countries in the world.

Because the index uses GNI to measure wealth, we have included the dotted lines (using the right-hand scale), showing how increased GNI (due to oil revenue growth from 2004 to 2008) impacted on HDI. Again, the methodology changed between 2010 and 2011, with green dots representing this year's methodology, and black ones last years. This year's methodology gives less weight to natural resource income, providing a less inaccurate way to measure human development

When the methodology used before 2010 is applied, the lines with blue triangles result. As these use GDP rather than GNI, Timor-Leste's score and ranking hardly moved from 2002 through 2010.

For more information about how the Human Development concept and index apply specifically to Timor-Leste, see our web page on the National Human Development Report that UNDP published for Timor-Leste in May 2011.

Atu hatene informasaun tan kona-ba mudansa no oinsa konseitu Dezenvolvimentu Humanu no indeks aplika ho spesifikamente ba Timor-Leste, hare ami nia pajina web kona-ba Relatoriu Dezenvolvimentu Humanu National ne’ebe UNDP publika ba Timor-Leste iha Maiu 2011.


The Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis (La’o Hamutuk)
Institutu Timor-Leste ba Analiza no Monitor ba Dezenvolvimentu
Rua D. Alberto Ricardo, Bebora, Dili, Timor-Leste
P.O. Box 340, Dili, Timor-Leste
Tel: +670-3321040 or +670-77234330
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