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Indigenous well-being in four countries: an application of the UNDP'S human development index to indigenous peoples in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States.

Cooke M, Mitrou F, Lawrence D, Guimond E, Beavon D - BMC Int Health Hum Rights (2007)

Bottom Line: Between 1990 and 2000, the HDI scores of Indigenous peoples in North America and New Zealand improved at a faster rate than the general populations, closing the gap in human development.In Australia, the HDI scores of Indigenous peoples decreased while the general populations improved, widening the gap in human development.The inconsistent progress in the health and well-being of Indigenous populations over time, and relative to non-Indigenous populations, points to the need for further efforts to improve the social, economic, and physical health of Indigenous peoples.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Sociology, University of Waterloo, 200 University Drive W, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. cooke@uwaterloo.ca

ABSTRACT

Background: Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand consistently place near the top of the United Nations Development Programme's Human Development Index (HDI) rankings, yet all have minority Indigenous populations with much poorer health and social conditions than non-Indigenous peoples. It is unclear just how the socioeconomic and health status of Indigenous peoples in these countries has changed in recent decades, and it remains generally unknown whether the overall conditions of Indigenous peoples are improving and whether the gaps between Indigenous peoples and other citizens have indeed narrowed. There is unsettling evidence that they may not have. It was the purpose of this study to determine how these gaps have narrowed or widened during the decade 1990 to 2000.

Methods: Census data and life expectancy estimates from government sources were used to adapt the Human Development Index (HDI) to examine how the broad social, economic, and health status of Indigenous populations in these countries have changed since 1990. Three indices - life expectancy, educational attainment, and income - were combined into a single HDI measure.

Results: Between 1990 and 2000, the HDI scores of Indigenous peoples in North America and New Zealand improved at a faster rate than the general populations, closing the gap in human development. In Australia, the HDI scores of Indigenous peoples decreased while the general populations improved, widening the gap in human development. While these countries are considered to have high human development according to the UNDP, the Indigenous populations that reside within them have only medium levels of human development.

Conclusion: The inconsistent progress in the health and well-being of Indigenous populations over time, and relative to non-Indigenous populations, points to the need for further efforts to improve the social, economic, and physical health of Indigenous peoples.

No MeSH data available.


Life Expectance at birth, 1990/1–2000/1.
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Figure 1: Life Expectance at birth, 1990/1–2000/1.

Mentions: Improvements in Indigenous life expectancy and in closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples varied among these four countries (Table 2). The national life expectancy estimates for the total population of each of the four countries in question was over 75 years throughout the 1990/1–2000/1 decade. Figure 1 shows life expectancy at birth from official estimates, for the four Indigenous populations of these countries over the same 10-year period. Canadian Registered Indians had the highest life expectancy of all of these populations, rising from 70.6 years to 72.9 years. Māori life expectancy also improved, from 69.4 years in 1996 to 71.1 years in 2001.


Indigenous well-being in four countries: an application of the UNDP'S human development index to indigenous peoples in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States.

Cooke M, Mitrou F, Lawrence D, Guimond E, Beavon D - BMC Int Health Hum Rights (2007)

Life Expectance at birth, 1990/1–2000/1.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2238768&req=5

Figure 1: Life Expectance at birth, 1990/1–2000/1.
Mentions: Improvements in Indigenous life expectancy and in closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples varied among these four countries (Table 2). The national life expectancy estimates for the total population of each of the four countries in question was over 75 years throughout the 1990/1–2000/1 decade. Figure 1 shows life expectancy at birth from official estimates, for the four Indigenous populations of these countries over the same 10-year period. Canadian Registered Indians had the highest life expectancy of all of these populations, rising from 70.6 years to 72.9 years. Māori life expectancy also improved, from 69.4 years in 1996 to 71.1 years in 2001.

Bottom Line: Between 1990 and 2000, the HDI scores of Indigenous peoples in North America and New Zealand improved at a faster rate than the general populations, closing the gap in human development.In Australia, the HDI scores of Indigenous peoples decreased while the general populations improved, widening the gap in human development.The inconsistent progress in the health and well-being of Indigenous populations over time, and relative to non-Indigenous populations, points to the need for further efforts to improve the social, economic, and physical health of Indigenous peoples.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Sociology, University of Waterloo, 200 University Drive W, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. cooke@uwaterloo.ca

ABSTRACT

Background: Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand consistently place near the top of the United Nations Development Programme's Human Development Index (HDI) rankings, yet all have minority Indigenous populations with much poorer health and social conditions than non-Indigenous peoples. It is unclear just how the socioeconomic and health status of Indigenous peoples in these countries has changed in recent decades, and it remains generally unknown whether the overall conditions of Indigenous peoples are improving and whether the gaps between Indigenous peoples and other citizens have indeed narrowed. There is unsettling evidence that they may not have. It was the purpose of this study to determine how these gaps have narrowed or widened during the decade 1990 to 2000.

Methods: Census data and life expectancy estimates from government sources were used to adapt the Human Development Index (HDI) to examine how the broad social, economic, and health status of Indigenous populations in these countries have changed since 1990. Three indices - life expectancy, educational attainment, and income - were combined into a single HDI measure.

Results: Between 1990 and 2000, the HDI scores of Indigenous peoples in North America and New Zealand improved at a faster rate than the general populations, closing the gap in human development. In Australia, the HDI scores of Indigenous peoples decreased while the general populations improved, widening the gap in human development. While these countries are considered to have high human development according to the UNDP, the Indigenous populations that reside within them have only medium levels of human development.

Conclusion: The inconsistent progress in the health and well-being of Indigenous populations over time, and relative to non-Indigenous populations, points to the need for further efforts to improve the social, economic, and physical health of Indigenous peoples.

No MeSH data available.