Human Opportunity Index


The World Bank (2008). Human Opportunity Index. Washington, DC: The World Bank.

Work data:

Type of work: Report




Between one fourth and one half of income inequality observed among Latin America and the Caribbean adults is due to personal circumstances endured during childhood that fell outside of their control or responsibility, such as race, gender, birthplace, parent’s educational level and their father’s occupation. These circumstances reveal the level of inequality of opportunity in the region.

This is one of the findings of a report made public today by the World Bank, written by Ricardo Paes de Barros, researcher at the Instituto de Pesquisa Economica Aplicada (IPEA/Brazil) and World Bank economists Francisco Ferreira, José Molinas and Jaime Saavedra. This is the first time a Human Opportunity Index (HOI) is presented.

The HOI shows how personal circumstances play in gaining or preventing access to those services needed for a productive life, such as running water, sanitation, electricity or basic education among children in the region. This opens up a whole new field of study dedicated to designing public policy focused on equity.


Human Opportunity Index (HOI) determines equity level in 19 Latinamerican countries.