What Is Human Development?

Human development is defined as a measurement of human achievements including biological changes, advancement of knowledge and habits over long periods of time, according to BusinessDictionary. Human development helps governments and companies manage human populations, determine growth patterns and foster international trade.

The Human Development Index measures long life, standards of living and capability of knowledge in certain areas, according to the United Nations Development Programme. The worldwide organization attempts to quantify human development by interpreting data from these three facets of human existence.

For example, a long and healthy life on the HDI measures life expectancy at birth with a minimum of 20 years to a maximum of 85 years. Life expectancy takes into account the birth and death patterns of a particular population in a certain area, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

How much knowledge people have depends on educational opportunities in a geographic area. Expected years of schooling are measured for the UN's HDI figures for children who stay in school until age 15 and those who stay in school until age 18. The indices combine for an average figure of educational attainment as they relate to human development, according to the United Nations Development Programme.

Standards of living take into account per capita gross national income figures. When a population has a higher per capita income, the standard of living increases, as indicated by the United Nations Development Programme. The HDI does not measure poverty, security, war and inequalities among populations to derive the final HDI number for various countries.