Summary of The Human Capital Project

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In a world inundated with bad news, optimists may find hope in a new “human capital” index, which shows that children born in 2018 will grow up better able to meet the challenges of the future than those born in 1980. But despite the overall improvement, wide differences remain between and within the advanced and developing nations. This useful and illuminating report from the World Bank Group can guide leaders, policy makers and economists in setting development strategies.

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The World Bank provides financial and technical assistance to developing countries.



Cultivating and enhancing “human capital” – people’s “skills, health, knowledge and resilience” – can have huge impacts on a country. These factors influence everything from a nation’s per capita GDP to its functioning as a civil society, and they can shape its future. Worldwide improvements in human capital are on a positive trajectory. Just half of school-aged children in low-income countries attended school in 1980, compared to 80% in 2015, and their life expectancy rose from 52 years to 65 years. Nonetheless, people in wealthy countries live far longer than those in poor nations. In...

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