Just a quick one on the difference between countries’ current performance level, and their rate of progress. There are two maps in the Child Development Index 2012 that we launched today.
One of them has countries coloured according to their current index scores (combining child mortality, primary school enrolment and under-nutrition). Red and pink indicate ‘low’ and ‘medium’ child development respectively, while green and yellow indicate ‘high’ and ‘very high’ child development respectively. As you can see, it is barely a simplification to say that sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia are red and pink, the rest of the world yellow and green. (Click for a bigger picture, by the way.)
The other map shows rates of progress on the index, and has a very different distribution of colours. Both sub-Saharan Africa and south America, for example, include countries in each quartile of progress. So too does western Europe, while north America only lacks the top quartile; although it’s worth noting that the data is less suited to capturing progress in high-income countries.
Both are true pictures, but there’s quite a difference in the impression they could give of the world. For what it’s worth, we put the second map at the front of the report, and the first one at the back…