The HWI is a more realistic measure of socioeconomic conditions than narrowly monetary indicators such as the Gross Domestic Product and covers more aspects of human wellbeing than the United Nationsâ€™ Human Development Index. It is the average of:
- Health and population. How long people may expect to live in good health. The stability of family size.
- Wealth. How well needs are met for income, food, safe water, and sanitation. The size and condition of the national economy, including inflation, unemployment, and the debt burden.
- Knowledge and culture. Education (primary, secondary, and tertiary school enrollment rates) and communication (accessibility and reliability of the telephone system and use of the Internet). Lack of a suitable indicator prevented coverage of culture.
- Community. Freedom and governance (political rights, civil liberties, press freedom, and corruption). Peacefulness (military expenditure and deaths from armed conflicts and terrorism). Violent crime rates.
- Equity. Household equity: the difference in income share between the richest and poorest fifths of the population. Gender equity: disparities between males and females in income, education, and parliamentary decision-making.