The Human Capital Index 2020 Update: Human Capital in the Time of COVID-19

Date published
16 Sep 2020
World Bank Group
Research, reports and studies
Capacity development, Local capacity, Development & humanitarian aid, COVID-19, Epidemics & pandemics, Engaging with affected populations, Governance, Research, policy and analysis
World Bank

The Human Capital Index (HCI) is an international metric that benchmarks key components of human capital across countries. Measuring the human capital that a child born today can expect to attain by her 18th birthday, the HCI highlights how current health and education outcomes shape the productivity of the next generation of workers. In this way, it underscores the importance for governments and societies of investing in the human capital of their citizens. The HCI was launched in 2018 as part of the Human Capital Project (HCP), a global effort to accelerate progress towards a world where all children can achieve their full potential. Over the past decade, many countries have made important progress in improving human capital.

To protect and extend earlier human-capital gains, policymakers need to expand health service coverage and quality among marginalized communities, boost learning outcomes together with school enrollments, and support vulnerable families with social protection measures adapted to the scale of the COVID-19 crisis. Informed by rigorous measurement, bold policies can drive a resilient recovery from the pandemic and open a future in which rising generations will be able to develop their full potential and use it to tackle the vast challenges that still lie ahead for countries and the world: from ending poverty to preventing armed conflict to controlling climate change. COVID-19 has underscored the shared vulnerability and common responsibility that today link all nations. Fully realizing the creative promise embodied in each child has never been more important.