Monday, 6 June 2011

The Human Development Index applied to São Paulo's districts

Cost of a much loved imported Gin
Cost of local Cachaça in same store
One of the first surprises I got when I moved to São Paulo were the prices. I had read up extensively on the city, I already knew it was the most expensive in South America and my HR department had already reviewed my salary based on increased living expenses so I didn’t expect it to be cheap. Even so, like-for-like comparisons on basic services such as accommodation and public transport were surprisingly high versus other major cities.

As I have explored further I’ve also found that amongst the high prices there are some true bargains out there and what surprises me the most now, 2 months on, is the difference between the top and bottom price available for what is essentially the same product (eg. a meal, a night out or a piece of furniture). And I’m pretty sure that if and when I venture out of the centre this difference would explode as you start touching on both marginalized impoverished communities and fenced off luxury compounds.

For the unaccustomed it’s hard to get your head round the scale of the price disparity and the social inequalities behind them. Luckily we’re not the first to be interested in the subject; introducing the Human Development Index (HDI)*

Normally this is applied to whole countries with Norway leading and Zimbabwe last placed in the 2010 report:

See for more stats

But someone has gone to the trouble of analyzing all of São Paulo’s districts applying the Human Development Index (HDI)* to each one. Here is the result which is essentially the same map as above but applied at a city level:

Which means that São Paulo simultaneously has districts equivalent in HDI terms to Ireland (as is the case of Pinheiros where I happen to live) or Sweden (Jardim Paulista) as well as Azerbaijan (Lajeado) or Guyana (Jardím Ângela) which is pretty amazing.

Top 5 districts

    Moema (0.961) – (Equal to  Canada – 0.961)
    Pinheiros (0.960) – (Equal to  Ireland – 0.960)
    Jardim Paulista (0.957) – (Greater than  Sweden – 0.956)
    Itaim Bibi (0.953) – (Equal to  Japan,  Netherlands – 0.953)

Bottom 5 districts

    Marsilac (0.701) – (In line with  Mongolia – 0.700)
    Parelheiros (0.747) – (In line with  Azerbaijan – 0.746)
    Lajeado (0.748) – (In line with  Azerbaijan – 0.746)
    Jardim Ângela (0.750) – (In line with  Guyana – 0.750)
    Iguatemi (0.751) – (In line with  Guyana – 0.750)

I wonder how many cities worldwide would have such a wide range of different “human development” within its boundaries...

*For the geeks amongst you the HDI is the geometric mean of the three normalized indices below:





LE = Life expectancy at birth
MYS = Mean years of schooling (Years that a 25-year-old person or older has spent in schools)
EYS = Expected years of schooling (Years that a 5-year-old child will spend with his education in his whole life)
GNIpc = Gross national income at purchasing power parity per capita

Any doubts, just ask ;)

6 comments: said...

Pinga it is then...!

Pierre Larose said...

either that or ethanol both are produced locally ;)

IsaacRiquelme said...

Wow, that´s a very interesting review. It´s surprising how the neibourhoods are geographically distributed in space. I tough city centers weren´t rich anymore.

Pierre Larose said...

Actually I'm not sure how accurate the map is or how the very central districts are defined because although the centro expandido is affluent the centro centro is definitely run down, dilapidated and there's a lot of poverty. You'll see that when you come and visit. Also I'm guessing that they only look at people who are on the census (i.e. have a house etc) so the massive amounts of homeless people are not factored in...

Plugadão said...

Aqui o litro de cachaça 51 é apenas 4 Reais, kkk =P

Linked Citizen said...

Very interesting article. As I always say: the brits are very interesting and have a great point of view on things. Cheers to you Mate.

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