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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.


Education attainment index scores, 1990/1–2000/1.
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Figure 2: Education attainment index scores, 1990/1–2000/1.

Mentions: Progress in educational attainment was slightly more evident. Figure 2 presents the Educational Attainment Index for the Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations in these countries. In the first panel, the consistent improvement in educational attainment for Māori is most striking, narrowing the gap with non-Māori. Although there was a smaller difference in educational attainment between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, there is no evidence of this gap closing. Although the educational attainment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders increased, it did not keep pace with the improvements in the non-Indigenous population. The result was a slight widening of the gap in educational attainment.


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)

Education attainment index scores, 1990/1–2000/1.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 2: Education attainment index scores, 1990/1–2000/1.
Mentions: Progress in educational attainment was slightly more evident. Figure 2 presents the Educational Attainment Index for the Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations in these countries. In the first panel, the consistent improvement in educational attainment for Māori is most striking, narrowing the gap with non-Māori. Although there was a smaller difference in educational attainment between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, there is no evidence of this gap closing. Although the educational attainment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders increased, it did not keep pace with the improvements in the non-Indigenous population. The result was a slight widening of the gap in educational attainment.

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.