FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
Human Development, HDI and MHDI

MHDI’s calculation methodology

Human Development, HDI and MHDI

The Metropolitan Regions Atlas

Human Development, HDI and MHDI

What is Human Development?
The Human Development approach became well-known and widespread through the first Global Human Development Report of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) by Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq in 1990. The Human Development approach is inspired by the work of Amartya Sen - Nobel laureate in Economics - and it is based on the idea that people are the real "wealth of the nations". Human development is usually defined as a process of expanding people's choices and freedoms – in terms of capabilities and opportunities at their disposal - so they can choose the lives they wish to lead. Unlike economic growth-focused perspective to progress, that sees society’s well-being only based on a society’s income, the human development approach places people - and their opportunities and capabilities - at the centre of the discussion.
What is the Human Development Index (HDI)?
The Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite statistic of health, education and income indicators created in 1990 for the Human Development Report of the United Nations Development Programme. Deriving from the perspective of Amartya Sen and Mahbub ul Haq, that people are the real "wealth of nations", the HDI became an alternative to purely economic assessments of national progress, such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The innovative factor of the HDI was the creation of a synthetic index, to serve as a reference for the level of human development of a particular location. The index ranges between 0 (minimum value) and 1 (maximum value). Since the Human Development approach assumes that to lead the lives they want, people need opportunities to have long and healthy lives, access to knowledge and the opportunity to enjoy a decent standard of living. As such, the HDI consists of health, education and income indicators.
What is the Municipal Human Development Index (MHDI)?
Brazil was one of the first countries to adopt and calculate the HDI for all the municipalities of the country, thus creating the sub-national index – Municipal Human Development Index (MHDI) in 1998. The MHDI adjusts the HDI to the municipal reality and reflects specific and regional challenges in Brazilian human development. To measure the level of human development of municipalities, the MHDI assesses the same dimensions as the global HDI - health, education and income – however, some of the applied indicators are different. The MHDI also varies between 0 (minimum value) and 1 (maximum value).
Why the MHDI?
The MHDI is an index that informs us about the reality of the municipalities in terms of human development. While popularising the idea that development is not just economic growth, the MHDI facilitates comparisons between municipalities, leading to better-informed dialogue and discussions about social policies and encouraging search for better socio-economic performances among municipalities. Nevertheless, the index does not cover all aspects of human development and does not represent people’s “happiness” or indicate “the best places to live”. However, it summarizes the three most important dimensions of human development. It aims to expand and foster the debate, and to provide tools to the society to assess the quality of life in Brazilian municipalities. In addition, it encourages consultations with stakeholders in order to lead activities and innovative policies to overcome local challenges and move towards human development.
What is the difference between HDI and MHDI? 

Adult population Population of young people
MHDI Brazil Life expectancy at birth 18+ with primary education completed 5-6 attending school
11-13 attending the final years of primary education
15-17 with primary education completed 18-20 with secondary education completed
Monthly income per capita (R$ Aug/2010)
Global HDI Life expectancy at birth Mean years of Schooling 25+ Expected years of schooling The national mean income per capita (US$ ppp2005)

The MHDI is a methodological adaptation of the HDI at the municipal level. Both indices consist of the same dimensions: health, education and income, but some indicators used in MHDI to portray these dimensions are different.
Like the global HDI, the MHDI Education consists of two indicators: the first indicator provides information on the educational level of the adult population and the second on the educational level of the young population. However, the variables are different from each other. In the adult population, the mean years of schooling of people aged 25 years or more – as measured by the global HDI – could not be obtained from the 2010 Demographic Census and as such, it was replaced by the share of the adult population aged 18 years or more that has completed primary education. This indicator allows a good assessment of the level of education of the adult population. In the case of young people, the measurement ’expected years of schooling’ – applied in the global HDI from 2010 onwards – reflects years spent at school, regardless repetition and including higher education . The MHDI was adapted into municipal contexts by using four indicators to find out to which extent children and young people attend and complete educational levels. The resulting sub-index – the educational flow of young people – is the arithmetic mean of the percentage of children aged 5 to 6 years attending school, of the percentage of adolescents aged 11 to 13 years attending the final years of primary school (6th to 9th), of the percentage of adolescents aged 15 to 17 years having completed primary education and the percentage of young people aged 18 to 20 years having completed secondary education.
While in the global HDI the income component is calculated by the Gross National Income (GNI) expressed in Power Purchasing Standard per capita (ppp, World Bank 2005), the MHDI Income estimates the municipal income per capita - the average monthly income of the residents in a given municipality, in Brazilian Reals (BRL).
The MHDI Longevity is calculated - as in global HDI - by life expectancy at birth - the average number of years that people would live from birth while maintaining the same mortality patterns observed in the reference year.
When comparing the two indices, it is important to note that they use different data sources. The data to calculate the MHDI is extracted from the Demographic Censuses conducted by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, IBGE, whereas the global HDI uses data from the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Limiting the municipal information to a single source ensures better comparability between the 5,565 municipalities in the country.
Why adapt the global HDI to the municipal level?
Brazil was one of the first countries to adapt the HDI to the municipal level, in 1998. Since then, many countries have established their own municipal indices by adapting the global HDI methodology to local needs. There are examples, e.g. Gambia, which incorporated different variables – such as the adult literacy rate and the expected years of schooling – to account for truancy and measure the educational dimension of the HDI. China created a Health Risk Index, which consists of variables such as exposure to air pollution and water, nutritional and service capacity of health services. It is important to point out that, when adapting HDI to the national level, the indicators may vary. According to the guidelines set forth by UNDP’s Global Human Development Reports, indicator selection should be based on the availability of sub-national data and on contextualizing with local realities. Retaining all the three dimensions (Education, Longevity and Income) ensures that the local index maintains the standardization as the HDI, while the methodological adjustments allow further refinement of the municipal index.
Is it possible to compare global HDI and MHDI?
No. The HDI and the MHDI are both synthetic indices, which consist of indicators about three dimensions of human development: health/longevity, education and income. However, the indicators, as well as data sources, chosen for this composition vary between the HDI and the MHDI. The HDI is used to measure countries’ human development levels in a global context, comparing one to another. The MHDI is used to compare municipalities with one another.
Why is the global HDI of Brazil (published annually by UNDP) different from Brazil’s MHDI presented in Atlas?
The indices have different purposes: the HDI is used to measure the performance of the countries, while the MHDI is used to monitor the performance of Brazilian municipalities. They are, however, measuring similar phenomena – life expectancy, access to formal education, and income – but the indicators and data sources are different, and cannot be compared. The calculation of the Human Development Index of Brazilian municipalities and states – the MHDI – only serves to evaluate the performance of the – and among - municipalities. Therefore, the MHDI cannot be compared to the HDIs of other countries. Hence, for a human development comparison between countries, one needs to use Brazil’s HDI, which is published annually by the UNDP headquarters in New York.
Why are the values of the indicators that compose Brazil’s MHDI different from those that make up Brazil’s HDI, published by the UNDP?
When calculating life expectancy at birth at the municipal level, the calculation is based on data provided by the Brazilian demographic censuses of IBGE – this, however is an indirect calculation that applies the adaptation of the Brass methodology. The data applied to calculate the index at the country level is also provided by IBGE. The global HDI, on the other hand, applies data from international sources, which also entail projections and are not always as up to date.
When it comes to income, the global HDI applies the Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, which is a result of an indirect calculation that is obtained by national accounts data, which also generate indicators such as the GDP and other macroeconomic indicators. However, the MHDI uses as indicator income of the population derived from demographic census data. Hence, the concepts and sources are different. In the case of the education dimension, all MHDI variables are different from the variables that compose the HDI and, thus, data is different.
MHDI’s calculation methodology

How is the MHDI calculated?
The MHDI is an index that brings together three of the most important dimensions of human development: the opportunity to live a long and healthy life, to have access to knowledge and to have a decent standard of living that ensures one’s basic needs. These three dimensions are represented by health, education and income.
Long and healthy life is measured by life expectancy at birth, which is calculated by an indirect method of applying the data of IBGE’s Demographic Censuses. Maintaining the same mortality patterns observed in the reference year, this indicator shows the average number of years that people would live after birth.
Access to knowledge is measured by a composition of indicators that estimate the educational level of the adult population and the educational flow of young people.
Weight of 1: The educational level of the adult population is measured by the percentage of people aged 18 years or older who have completed primary education.
Weight of 2: The educational flow of young people is measured by the arithmetic mean of the percentage of children aged 5 to 6 years attending school, the percentage of young people aged 11 to 13 years attending the final years of primary school, the percentage of young people aged 15 to 17 years who have completed primary education and the percentage of young people aged 18 to 20 years who have completed secondary education. This measurement follows the school-aged population at four important moments of their educational lives. The MHDI Education is the result of the geometric mean of these two components. The applied data is provided by IBGE’s Demographic Censuses.
The standard of living is measured by the municipal income per capita, in other words, the average income of a resident of a certain municipality. It is the sum of the income of all residents divided by the number of people living in the municipality – including children and people without income. The applied data is provided by the Demographic Censuses conducted by IBGE.
Os três componentes acima são agrupados por meio da média geométrica, resultando no IDHM.
A detailed calculation of the MHDI is available in the section "Methodology".
Do the three dimensions have the same weight?
Yes. The MHDI assigns equal weights to the three dimensions. The MHDIs of each municipality are the result of the geometric means of these three sub-indices. Emphasising the three components with the same weight is based on the idea that the three dimensions are equally important and non-replaceable.
Has the methodology for calculating the MHDI always been the same? Why have there been changes in the indicators that compose the index?
The MHDI is a composite index that measures human development in its three basic dimensions - health, education and income. In the methodology applied in 1998 and 2003, the MHDI measured the educational level by using two indicators that had different weights: the literacy rate of people aged 15 years and older (weight of 2) and the gross school attendance rate (weight of 1); health was measured by life expectancy at birth, and the income was measured by the municipal income per capita. The new MHDI methodology seeks, on one hand, to follow the methodological changes applied to the global HDI in 2010, and on the other hand, to better portrays the Brazilian context both methodologically and conceptually, and by using available data sources for Brazilian municipalities (i.e. the Demographic Censuses by IBGE). More information on MHDI calculation is available in the section "Methodology".
Why was the geometric mean used to combine the components of MHDI?
Previously, the three MHDI dimensions had been aggregated by a simple arithmetic measurement: the MHDI of a municipality was the sum of its sub-indices, divided by three (MHDI Education + MHDI Longevity + MHDI Income / 3). Thus, a poor performance in one dimension could be compensated by a better performance in another. For example, municipalities with low life expectancies but with high municipal income levels could have MHDIs similar to the municipalities, with a concurrently-balanced performance across all three dimensions.
The geometric mean is applied into Atlas Brazil: the dimensions are multiplied and the product is extracted by the cube root (). This way, the geometric mean reduces the level of substitution across dimensions. In other words, a low performance in one dimension can no longer be linearly compensated by a high performance in another dimension. Thus, the MHDI reflects the performance in three dimensions. The performance of the municipalities, in income and in health and in education, should be harmonious.
Is it possible to compare the MHDI 2013 with the 1991 and 2000 MHDIs, published in 2003?
No. Despite evaluating the same dimensions (health, education and income) the methodology used to obtain the variables in the new edition of the MHDI was modified. As such, comparing the data is not possible. To enable the comparison and analysis of past decades, Atlas Brazil provides data from the years 2010, 2000 and 1991 - recalculated according to new methodological adjustments. Additionally, all the municipal divisions that occurred in the decade (5,507 municipalities in 2000 and 5,565 municipalities in 2010) have been taken into account in the calculations for Atlas Brazil.
Why is the municipalities’ ranking in 1991 and/or 2000 different in this new Atlas when compared to the rankings published in previous Atlas editions?
This difference does not infer that the ranking of a municipality in the previous editions was wrong – instead, that the ranking has now been revised considering the current human development challenges - which the MHDI, in fact, seeks to portray.
Even though Atlas Brazil assesses the same dimensions - health, education and income -, the methodology used to obtain the MHDI is not the same as in previous Atlas editions. The new Atlas Brazil follows the methodological developments that new challenges require – also adopted by the global HDI, published annually by the UNDP headquarters in New York.
The HDI is always evolving, so as to better explain the new challenges in each period of time. As such, the methodology of the index at the municipal level (the MHDI) is different. For instance, until the year 2000, the MHDI Education prioritized school attendance of children and young people; now, however, the challenge is, in addition to school attendance, being in the appropriate grade and guaranteeing access to the education system for 5 to 6-year-old children.
Besides the MHDI of 2010, the new Atlas provides the MHDI calculated for years 1991 and 2000, according to the current methodological adjustments. Moreover, the MHDI also takes into account the new municipalities that were founded as a result of the municipal divisions between 2000 (5.507 municipalities) and 2010 (5.565 municipalities). For these municipalities, it is identified the territorial correspondence of their areas in the past, so to calculate the MHDI of previous years. Therefore, this is to be seen in light of the present - not past - municipal configuration.
All this effort - both the application of the new methodology in previous years as the compatibility of municipal areas, in terms of new municipalities - is done to allow for a temporal and spatial comparison of the Atlas indicators. It is worth noting that this comparison, made possible by the two techniques, is not trivial, because it is difficult to contextualise the past 10 or 20 years with the demands of today. The comparison enables monitoring the evolution of the municipalities - from the perspective of current needs and contexts.
Can the income per capita be used as a proxy to measure human development?
No. The income per capita allows for a development analysis from a purely economic perspective. Although income is an important variable in achieving a decent standard of living, it does not automatically guarantee human development. The concept of human development is broad and assumes that, to assess progress in the population’s quality of life, it is necessary to go beyond a purely economic bias and examine other social, cultural and political characteristics that affect the quality of human life. Income matters, but rather as a means to achieving development, not as an end of development itself. This reflects an important change of perspective: in human development, the focus is transferred from economic growth (or income) to people.
Why does the MHDI not include dimensions such as social participation, gender and equity?
The MHDI is derived from the data in IBGE’s Demographic Census and provides, through a single number, information about some key issues of human development - health, education and income. A more complete picture of human development, including other important variables, also requires an analysis of other available indicators. For the global HDI, the UNDP - United Nations Development Programme - recognizes these limitations and regularly proposes methodologies to report such limitations. In 2010, for example, UNDP introduced the Inequality-adjusted HDI (IHDI), which relates the HDI to the level of inequality of countries, the Gender Inequality Index (GII) reflects gender-based inequalities, and the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) identifies multiple deprivations in education, health and the standard of living of households. However, when including other dimensions, the understanding and analysis become more complex. The main idea of the HDI is to produce a concise index that, in fact, facilitates the understanding of human development, thus, making the reading the index more complex would go against its purpose. The MHDI seeks to maintain consistency with the global HDI and, thus, focuses on these three dimensions: health, education and income – that are considered crucial to human development.
Can there be a tie between municipalities in the MHDI classification? Why?
Yes. Municipalities that have the same value/result of the geometric mean of the three MHDI components, to three decimals places, are tied in the MHDI ranking.
How the municipalities are classified into the human development categories?
MHDI between 0 and 0.499: Very Low Human Development MHDI between 0.500 and 0.599: Low Human Development MHDI between 0.600 and 0.699: Medium Human Development MHDI between 0.700 and 0.799: High Human Development MHDI between 0.800 and 1: Very High Human Development
The categories of municipal human development are not the same as in global HDI. They were adapted to better contextualize the Brazilian reality. The categories of the global HDI are divided into Low, Medium, High and Very High Human Development. In addition, global HDI’s values vary each year, because they are derived from the lowest and highest values observed in countries. In MHDI, the categories were divided into five groups. MHDI’s "Very Low" category generally corresponds to the "Low" category of global HDI. And the "High" and "Very High" categories correspond to the same categories in the global HDI. The "Low" and "Medium" categories differentiate between municipalities ranked 0.500 and 0.699, in order to stress the differences and to recognize efforts of the municipalities that are closer to "High" human development.
Is the MHDI sufficient to measure the level of human development of a municipality?
No. The MHDI can provide a concise overview of some of the key issues of human development in the municipality: health (conditions where people live a long and healthy life), education (access to knowledge) and income (conditions to maintain a decent standard of living). As with any index, the MHDI cannot cover the whole socio-economic reality of the municipalities and, therefore, it is important to match the index with other data - such as the data regarding employment, housing and social vulnerability presented in the Atlas of Human Development in Brazil – in order to display a more holistic and comprehensive snapshot of the living conditions in a given municipality.
There are also other important aspects of human development that are difficult to measure - such as social participation and empowerment. Nevertheless, while human development has to do with all these human capacities, it is still a challenge to create indices that can measure all the complexities of human development.
Is the MHDI able to capture short-term progress in the municipalities?
No. Since the MHDI shows long-term trends, it is not able to capture short-term changes in the municipalities. This is not only due to its link with the Demographic Census (which is updated every ten years) but also to the use of variables of stock, such as the education of the adult population and health. These indicators reflect changes slowly and do not capture the progress and results of policies in the short term. From the indicators that the MHDI consists of, only income per capita may show variability in the short term. It is, however, noteworthy that, from a certain level, this variability is greatly reduced by applying the logarithm when building the income index.
What does Brazil’s MHDI mean? Is it an average of the MHDIs of all municipalities?
No. Brazil’s MHDI is calculated from indicators extracted directly from the census database. It examines all the person of the country, thus, the unit of analysis is population. This is not the same thing as taking a simple arithmetic mean of the MHDI values of the 5,565 municipalities in the country. Since in this case, we would be examining municipalities (instead of the population), all with the same calculative weight regardless the size of the municipality. As an alternative, the MHDI of the country could be calculated as an arithmetic mean that emphasises the population of the municipalities. In this case, the value of the MHDI would be closer enough the value that obtained by the calculative method adopted for Brazil’s MHDI. Even so, the result would not be ideal. This is mainly due to the “life expectancy at birth” indicator, which is obtained indirectly and is influenced by various factors - such as the age composition of the municipal population.
How were the maximum and the minimum values of each dimension chosen? How were they calculated?
When building the MHDI, all the component indicators were processed in advance into indices that vary between 0 and 1.
The indicator transformation was done through a simple mathematical formula: (observed value - minimum value) / (maximum value - minimum value). It also conveys a very simple idea, which is a relationship between the distances of the observed value in relation to the worst and the best values defined for it. Thus, the closer the observed value of the municipality comes to the minimum (or worst value), the smaller the numerator of the equation and the closer to 0 the index of the municipality. On the other hand, the closer the observed value of the municipality approaches the maximum (or best value), the closer the numerator and denominator of the equation and, therefore, the closer the index will be to maximum value of 1.
Hence, choosing the maximum and minimum values or, in other words, evaluating the best and worst limitations of the indicator is fundamentally important and directly impacts the value to be obtained for the index. It also impacts the dispersion index values across the various types of municipalities.
In the case of the MHDI Education, the unit of all five indicators are percentages. Thus, the minimum and maximum values are limited from 0 to 100.
In the MHDI Longevity, the only indicator is life expectancy at birth, which is calculated by examining the minimum and maximum values ( 85 years and 25 years), with the same reference as in the previous Atlas editions.
The only indicator examined in the MHDI Income is the income per capita. The transformation of this indicator in the index is a bit more complex for several reasons. First, the MHDI is an index that is adapted from an index suited for countries, and therefore, the problem of comparability between different currencies occurs. In global HDI this issue is resolved by adopting an exchange rate based on the purchasing power of basic items in a given the country. This is called dollar - parity-power-of-purchase ($ PPP). Secondly, it is necessary to consider the issue of monetary comparability across several years. This issue is resolved by adopting constant values for the currency, by applying an index that corrects inflation within the period of time (in Atlas Brazil, this index was the National Consumer Price Index (INPC), by the IBGE).
The final thing to take into consideration is the dispersion of the values obtained for the income per capita among people and among municipalities. This issue is resolved by adopting a logarithmic function that decreases as the logarithmic number increases. This operation also reflects the idea of diminishing returns in welfare, as related to the volume of each person’s income. For example, if a person has a very small income, an increase of 100 dollars will make a big difference in that person’s well-being, whereas the same does not apply when the person already has a very high income.
The defined maximum and minimum limitations for the monthly income per capita is R$ 4,033.00 and R$ 8.00, respectively. The minimum corresponds to the minimum adopted from the global HDI of countries and the maximum corresponds to the average income of the richest decile of the population in the richest municipality in the country (Brasília). The formula to be used in the transformation is: (ln value - ln value 8.00) / (ln 4033.00 - ln 8.00).
Human Development, HDI and MHDI

What is the Atlas of Human Development in Brazil?
The Atlas Brazil is a public web tool that presents the Municipal Human Development Index (MHDI) of the 5,565 Brazilian municipalities. In addition to the data extracted from the Demographic Censuses of 2010, 2000 and 1991, the Atlas provides information on 180 other indicators of demography and health, education, housing, income, labour and vulnerability - all presented in maps, tables and charts. Additionally, one can browse the municipal profile feature, which provides an analytical summary of every Brazilian municipality in an objective and user-friendly manner.
Who developed the Atlas of Human Development in Brazil?
The Atlas of Human Development in Brazil was developed as a joint effort between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEA) and the João Pinheiro Foundation (FJP), using data from the Demographic Censuses conducted by IBGE.
What is the Atlas?
The idea behind the Atlas is to encourage the creation of efficient tools to observe and analyse Brazil’s diverse reality. Thus, as a tool that examines the reality at municipal level, the Atlas serves first and foremost the managers and administrators in supporting public policy making. Furthermore, its goal is to provide municipal information in a user-friendly fashion, easy to access and understand. In order to reach the entire Brazilian society, the Atlas was launched as a public platform available to all citizens – for the citizens to have opportunity to get to know and influence the realities they live in.
For whom is the Atlas of Human Development designed?
The Atlas is available to all citizens. Generally, it is designed to serve municipalities and policy makers, as well as public management and human development initiatives. Hence, the Atlas serves various social and professional divisions: public managers and administrators, researchers, students, professors, journalists, health professionals, community and social movement leaders, private sector, third sector and local development agents among other actors.
Where does the data used in the Atlas come from?
The data used in Atlas Brazil is extracted from the Demographic Censuses of 2010, 2000 and 1991, conducted by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE).
Why are the Atlas data and the MHDI published only once every 10 years?
The Atlas is bound to the data provided by the Demographic Censuses conducted every 10 years by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE). Therefore, Atlas Brazil uses data from the last three Censuses: 2010, 2000 and 1991. Since the data is obtained through the same census process, using such Demographic Censuses as data source ensures comparability and representativeness among municipalities. According to the United Nations, the Censuses can be defined as the set of operations that consist of collecting, collating and publishing demographic, economic and social data at any given time or certain periods, for all the inhabitants of a country or territory. In other words, they provide a full portrait of the country with a profile of the population and the characteristics of the households.
How many municipalities are included in Atlas Brazil?
All 5,565 municipalities counted in Census of 2010 are included in Atlas Brazil, as well as the data for 2000 and 1991.
Therefore, spatial compatibility was performed for the years 1991 and 2000, when Brazil had, respectively, 4,491 and 5,507 municipalities. Although in previous years, they did not exist as a municipality from the country’s national political-administrative perspective, their corresponding space in 2010 corresponded to parts of one or more municipalities in the past. This municipal area was examined separately from the original municipalities, to enable a comparison of the Atlas’ spatial and temporal indicators.
My municipality did not exist in 2000 (or in 1991), how come this data is, however, presented in Atlas? What is territorial compatibilisation?
In 1991, the country had 4,491 municipalities; in 2000, it had 5,507 and, in 2010, there were 5,565 municipalities. In other words, during these 20 years there have been many political and administrative divisions and several new municipalities have emerged. Despite the fact that several municipalities did not exist as such in the past, from the point of view of the political-administrative division of the country in the previous years, the area of the current municipality was part of one or more municipalities in the past. This municipal area of origin is examined separately from the other municipalities of origin, to enable the comparison of the spatial and temporal indicators of the Atlas.
What is the municipal profile?
The municipal profile is a summarised portrait of every Brazilian municipality which is accessible online or exportable in PDF format. The profile combines a set of texts and comparative data, with further information from 2010, 2000 and 1991. In addition to the Municipal Human Development Index (MHDI), the municipal profile presents the main socio-economic indicators of demography and health, education, housing, income, labour and vulnerability, in summarised form.
How is Atlas Brazil related to the Millennium Development Goals?
In September 2000, the UN General Assembly organized the Millennium Summit – an occasion where the heads of state or government from 191 countries agreed on the Millennium Declaration. This document resulted in a series of targets for development and poverty eradication worldwide, which are commonly known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). To achieve the MDGs by the year 2015, several targets and indicators were created to assess and monitor the progress of the agreed objectives.
The targets vary from country to country, and each country is responsible for monitoring the performance of its indicators. Thus, each country must rely upon their own social and institutional capacities to monitor their development performance. The Atlas of Human Development in Brazil contributes to the assessment of the MDGs because the data allow for the monitoring of welfare and well-being in the municipalities in the last two decades.
What other kind of data is found in the Atlas Brazil, in addition to the MHDI?
Besides the data from the 2010 Demographic Census, the Atlas presents evidence to support the MHDI analysis. There are over 180 indicators, divided into major areas:
  • MHDI: MHDI, MHDI Longevity, MHDI Education, MHDI Income;
  • Demography and health: Life expectancy at birth, infant mortality, aging rate, total fertility rate;
  • Population: total, by age groups, by gender, by economically-active population;
  • Education: education levels, school attendance, literacy, educational delay by age-years;
  • Housing: population with piped water, garbage collection and/or electricity in households;
  • Income: income level / composition, poverty, inequality;
  • Labour: economically-active population, unemployment and characteristics of workers (occupational position, sector of activity, level of education, degree of formal employment and salary and income inequality);
  • Vulnerability: families and vulnerable people, in terms of income, education, housing and labour.
The Atlas of Brazilian Metropolitan Areas

What is the Human Development Atlas in the Brazilian Metropolitan Areas?
The Metropolitan Regions Atlas displays the computation of the MHDI and the remainder Atlas indicators for some of the main metropolitan regions of Brazil. The Metropolitan Regions Atlas shows aspects of the socio-economic reality at intra-municipal level, and identifies socio-spatial inequalities in and between different parts of those metropolitan regions. Intra-municipal data are calculated for the Human Development Units (HDU), which is a pooling of census tracts with homogeneous urban, social and economic traits.
How many metropolitan regions are part of the Human Development Atlas in the Brazilian Metropolitan Areas?
The Atlas will comprise more than 200 indicators for 20 metropolitan regions: Baixada Santista, Belém, Belo Horizonte, Campinas, Cuiabá River Valley, Curitiba, the Federal District RIDE, Fortaleza, Goiânia, Greater São Luís, Greater Vitória, Maceió, Manaus, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, São Paulo and Vale do Paraíba and North Coast.
Are all the Brazilian metropolitan regions included in the Human Development Atlas in the Brazilian Metropolitan Areas?
No. Up to now the Atlas comprises only 20 metropolitan regions.
Are the Metropolitan Regions Atlas data also extracted from Demographic Censuses? Indicators are available for which years?
Yes. All the Atlas data are extracted from the IBGE Demographic Censuses. This edition brings data for 2000 and 2010 adjusted according to the 2010 census tract.
What is the composition of each metropolitan region? Does the Atlas comprise all the metropolitan municipalities?
The intra-municipal excerpts correspond to the HDUs. Data will be available for the HDUs of each Brazilian municipality part of the metropolitan regions comprised by the Atlas on the reference date adopted: December 31, 2013. The municipalities that are part of the MRs comprised in the Atlas as of the reference date are considered, pursuant to the supplementary legislation of each federal unit of those MRs.
Which municipalities are part of the metropolitan regions comprised by the Atlas?
The intra-municipal excerpts correspond to the HDUs. Data will be available for the HDUs of each Brazilian municipality part of the metropolitan regions comprised by the Atlas on the reference date adopted: December 31, 2013. The municipalities that are part of the MRs comprised in the Atlas as of the reference date are considered, pursuant to the supplementary legislation of each federal unit of those MRs.
Praia Grande
São Vicente
Santa Isabel do Pará
Santa Bárbara do Pará
Belo Horizonte
Capim Branco
Lagoa Santa
Mário Campos
Mateus Leme
Nova Lima
Nova União
Pedro Leopoldo
Ribeirão das Neves
Rio Acima
Rio Manso
Santa Luzia
São Joaquim de Bicas
São José da Lapa
Taquaraçu de Minas
Artur Nogueira
Engenheiro Coelho
Monte Mor
Nova Odessa
Santa Bárbara D'Oeste
Santo Antônio de Posse
Água Fria de Goiás
Águas Lindas de Goiás
Cabeceira Grande
Cidade Ocidental
Cocalzinho de Goiás
Corumbá de Goiás
Distrito Federal
Mimoso de Goiás
Novo Gama
Padre Bernardo
Santo Antônio do Descoberto
Valparaíso de Goiás
Vila Boa
Nossa Senhora do Livramento
Santo Antônio de Leverger
Várzea Grande
Agudos do Sul
Almirante Tamandaré
Balsa Nova
Bocaiúva do Sul
Campina Grande do Sul
Campo do Tenente
Campo Largo
Campo Magro
Cerro Azul
Doutor Ulysses
Fazenda Rio Grande
Quatro Barras
Rio Branco do Sul
Rio Negro
São José dos Pinhais
Tijucas do Sul
Tunas do Paraná
São Gonçalo do Amarante
Abadia de Goiás
Aparecida de Goiânia
Bela Vista de Goiás
Nova Veneza
Santo Antônio de Goiás
Senador Canedo
Terezópolis de Goiás
Careiro da Várzea
Novo Airão
Presidente Figueiredo
Rio Preto da Eva
Monte Alegre
Nísia Floresta
São Gonçalo do Amarante
São José de Mipibú
Vera Cruz
Arroio dos Ratos
Campo Bom
Capela de Santana
Dois Irmãos
Eldorado do Sul
Estância Velha
Nova Hartz
Nova Santa Rita
Novo Hamburgo
Porto Alegre
Santo Antônio da Patrulha
São Jerônimo
São Leopoldo
São Sebastião do Caí
Sapucaia do Sul
Abreu e Lima
Cabo de Santo Agostinho
Ilha de Itamaracá
Jaboatão dos Guararapes
São Lourenço da Mata
Belford Roxo
Cachoeiras de Macacu
Duque de Caxias
Nova Iguaçu
Rio Bonito
Rio de Janeiro
São Gonçalo
São João de Meriti
Dias D'Ávila
Lauro de Freitas
Madre de Deus
Mata de São João
São Francisco do Conde
São Sebastião do Passé
Simões Filho
Vera Cruz
Paço do Lumiar
São José de Ribamar
São Luís
Barra de Santo Antônio
Barra de São Miguel
Coqueiro Seco
Marechal Deodoro
Rio Largo
Santa Luzia do Norte
São Miguel dos Campos
Embu das Artes
Ferraz de Vasconcelos
Francisco Morato
Franco da Rocha
Itapecerica da Serra
Mogi das Cruzes
Pirapora do Bom Jesus
Ribeirão Pires
Rio Grande da Serra
Santa Isabel
Santana do Parnaíba
Santo André
São Bernardo do Campo
São Caetano do Sul
São Lourenço da Serra
São Paulo
Taboão da Serra
Vargem Grande Paulista
Cachoeira Paulista
Campos do Jordão
Monteiro Lobato
Natividade da Serra
Redenção da Serra
Santa Branca
Santo Antônio do Pinhal
São Bento do Sapucaí
São José do Barreiro
São José dos Campos
São Luís do Paraitinga
São Sebastião
Vila Velha
Can the metropolitan areas tie in the MHDI classification? Why?
Yes. Metropolitan regions with same average geometric value among the three MHDI components, considering three decimal places, tie in the MHDI classification.
How the HDU and metropolitan regions are classified in the human development ranges?
MHDI from 0 – 0.499: Very Low Human Development;
MHDI from 0.500 – 0.599: Low Human Development;
MHDI from 0.600 – 0.699: Medium Human Development;
MHDI from 0.700 – 0.799: High Human Development;
MHDI from 0.800 – 1: Very High Human Development.
Does the MHDI employ the same calculation methodology for municipalities, Federal Units, Human Development Units and Metropolitan Regions?
Yes, the MHDI calculation methodology is the same, regardless spatiality.
What is a Human Development Unit (HDU)?
To learn more about the HDUs go to: link.
How have the HDU been named?
The Atlas state partners have contributed with the HDUs naming according to their configuration in the urban area of the metropolitan municipalities.
When one single HDU fully (or almost fully) corresponds to a neighborhood (bairro) / territory excerpt known to the population, the HDU name is the name of the neighborhood or territory excerpt.
When a neighborhood or territory excerpt is known by a nickname or popular name, this can be in brackets (very common for villages, agglomerates, slums and settlements identified as subnormal). As the consultation to Atlas can be made using any part of the HDU name, it is worth including the "nicknames”, as these facilitate consultation.
Examples: Milionários
When one single HDU comprises two or more districts / territory excerpts, the HDU name makes reference to the name of all districts / territory excerpts.
Examples: Lourdes / Santo Agostinho
Lourdes and Santo Agostinho are adjacent neighborhoods, homogenous in socio-economic terms and, together, make up one single HDU. The HDU name includes reference to both neighborhoods. When you search on the Platform, you can type the name of any of the neighborhoods and you will find the corresponding HDU.
When two different HDUs are part of the same neighborhood/territory excerpt, the name of the neighborhood/territory excerpt is followed by colon, then the reference names that distinguish one HDU from the other.
This way, there are several HDUs with the same name of the neighborhood/territory excerpt, but after colon (:). Supplementary information facilitates the identification of each HDU of each part of the neighborhood/territory excerpt in question.
Examples: Sagrada Família : Horto
Sagrada Família : Pátio da Estação Ferroviária
If the supplementary reference to the name of the neighborhood/territory excerpt involves more than one reference, all names can be used.
Examples: Hipercentro : Imprensa Oficial / Pça. da Estação / Rodoviária
What is a Human Development Unit (HDU) Profile?
The Human Development Units Profile is a brief picture of the Brazilian intra-municipal spaces accessible online or exportable in PDF. It gathers a set of texts and comparative data with information of 2010 and 2000. It briefly presents the main socio-economic indicators in the fields of demography and health, education, housing, income, labor and vulnerability, additionally to the Municipal Human Development Index (MHDI).
Are other metropolitan areas expected to be included?
Today we envisage including four additional MRs: Baixada Santista, Campinas, Maceió, Vale do Paraíba. If the state and municipal governments, metropolitan management authorities, corporations or other social and political actors and economic agents have interest in including other MRs in this platform, they should ask the institutions in charge of the Atlas that, in turn, will evaluate the conditions and resources required to include new MRs.