Brazil’s development index drops to 2014 level with pandemic

O Human Development Index (HDI) of Brazil fell last year to the same level that the country had eight years ago, in 2014. In general, according to the report released this Thursday by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), gives United Nations Organization90% of the countries registered a fall in the HDI, as a result of the pandemic of Covid-19 and the successive crises and uncertainties that it brought.

This Brazilian decline, the second in a row, was greater than the average. “Human development has returned to 2016 levels, reversing a significant part of the progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”, says the UN.

According to the report, Brazil’s HDI, which was 0.758 in 2020, dropped to 0.754 in 2021. The index is composed of variables such as income, life expectancy at birth and education. The closer to 1, the better the performance. In the ranking of countries’ development, Brazil dropped three positions, from 84th to 87th.

UNDP report shows that Brazil, once again, dropped in the Human Development Index (HDI).
UNDP report shows that Brazil, once again, dropped in the Human Development Index (HDI). Photograph: Tiago Queiroz/Estadão – 09/23/2021

Brazil is in the group of 40% of the nations that registered a fall in the index for the second consecutive year. In 2019, the Brazilian HDI was 0.766. In 2020, 0.758. For Harvard School of Public Health professor Márcia Castro, the retreat is not surprising. “It was already expected. We had a drop in the main indices of health, income and education. The pandemic in Brazil ended up having a bigger effect because of the way the country responded,” she says. “The delay in acquiring vaccines, denying the severity of the disease and the regional character (with states and municipalities trying to circumvent the federal delay) showed that this was inevitable.”

The UNDP document says that “although some countries are starting to pick themselves up, the recovery is uneven and partial, further widening inequalities in human development”, noting that Latin America, the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa and southern Africa Asia, in particular, were hit hard. One of the components of the HDI, life expectancy at birth of Brazilians dropped from 74 years in 2020 to 72.8 in 2021, the lowest in 12 years.

The 1.2 year difference can be credited to the pandemic, but not only, experts say. Political scientist and professor at the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV), Claudio Couto sees data as a reflection of the federal government’s choices. “The pandemic has overloaded the health system, but not just for Covid cases,” he says. “The other diseases ended up being neglected. This is all that is reflected now.” Sought, the federal government did not manifest.

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The report makes a dismal diagnosis of the countries’ recovery, saying that the necessary changes are not happening for reasons such as insecurity and polarization. “New calculations show, for example, that those who feel most insecure are also more likely to hold extremist political views.”

Brazil’s drop to 87th position indicates the need for the country to act quickly. More important than ranking, however, is the HDI value. “As national and international agencies improve their data series, the information – including HDI values ​​and classifications – presented in this report are not comparable to those published in previous editions”, ponders the entity.

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