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A Human Development Index for the United States-Mexico Border

Joan Anderson, Jim Gerber


This paper presents a Border Human Development Index, which is a modified version of the United Nations Development Program's Human Development Index, in order to compare the development levels of the U.S. counties and Mexican municipios that touch the U.S.-Mexico Border. The paper presents the methodology used for constructing this index, along with results of the HDI's three sub-indices of income, education and health, and the full Border HDI for 1990 and 2000. The sub-index of health shows the smallest gap, while that of education is by far the largest both in 1990 and 2000. A key finding is the importance of the education gap because it has significant implications for an approach to closing the human development gap in the border region, and more generally between the United States and Mexico. A focused effort to increase secondary education would lead to increased productivity which would increase per capita income.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229