Montenegro in the category of very high human development

Dec 14, 2015

2015 Human Development Report: Building skills and investing in new sectors needed to create job opportunities

Addis Ababa, 14 December 2015 — Continued progress in Europe and Central Asia depends on creating better job opportunities and working conditions for all women and men, according to the 2015 Human Development Report  titled `Work for Human Development’, launched today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The Statistical Annex of the 2015 Human Development Report (HDR) presents the 2014 Human Development Index (HDI) (values and rankings) for 188 countries and UN-recognized territories. The HDI is a summary measure for assessing long-term progress in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living.

According to the report, Montenegro’s HDI value is 0.802— for the first time since the HDI was calculated for Montenegro, which puts the country in the very high human development category—positioning it at 49 out of 188 countries and territories. Between 2005 and 2014, Montenegro’s HDI value increased from 0.750 to 0.802, an increase of 7.0 percent or an average annual increase of about 0.75 percent. However, when the HDI value for Montenegro is discounted for inequality, it falls to 0.728, a loss of 9.2 percent due to inequality.

Montenegro’s HDI value is below the average of 0.896 of other countries in the very high human development group, but above the average of 0.748 for countries in Europe and Central Asia. From Europe and Central Asia, countries which are close to Montenegro in 2014 HDI rank and to some extent in population size are Latvia and Lithuania, which have HDIs ranked 46 and 37 respectively. Montenegro is ranks better even than some EU member countries, i.e. Romania (52nd) and Bulgaria (59th). When it comes to the region of Western Balkans, Montenegro is 3rd best ranked country, after Slovenia (25th ) and Croatia (47th ).

Life expectancy in Montenegro continues to increase (reaching 76.2 years), but remains below the expectancy in countries from the category of high human development (80.5 years). Expected years of schooling are 15.2, while mean years of schooling (11.2) are close to the score of other countries that fall in the same category of high human development (11.8). Even though GNI per capita is constantly increasing in Montenegro (and has reached 14,558 (PPP US$)), it still remains significantly lower than in other countries from the same category (41,584).

For the first time ever, the Human Development Report presents the data for Montenegro on gender; the Gender Development Index (GDI) and the Gender inequality index. The GDI measures inequalities in achievement in three dimensions of human  development: health (measured by female and male life expectancy at birth), education (measured by female and male expected years of schooling for children and mean years for adults aged 25 years and older); and command over economic resources (measured by female and male estimated GNI per capita). This new sex-disaggregated value shows that female HDI value for Montenegro is 0.782 in contrast with 0.819 for males, resulting in a GDI value of 0.954. In practical terms, even though Montenegrin women live longer than men, they still have slightly lower score in mean years of schooling (10.5 as opposed to 11.8 among men) and significantly lower GNI than men (11,106 as opposed to 18,094 among men).  

The parallel measure, the Gender Inequality Index (GII), examines inequalities in three dimensions – reproductive health, empowerment, and economic activity. Montenegro has a GII value of 0.171, ranking it 37 out of 155 countries in 2014. In Montenegro, only 17.3 percent of parliamentary seats are held by women, and 84.2 percent of adult women have reached at least a secondary level of education compared to 94.7 percent of their male counterparts. For every 100,000 live births, 7 women die from pregnancy related causes; and the adolescent birth rate is 15.2 births per 1,000 women of ages 15-19. Female participation in the labour market is 43.0 percent compared to 57.3 for men.

More information about the country ranking (including multidimensional poverty index, work indicators, employment/unemployment rates, etc.) is available in the attached Explanatory Note for Montenegro.

*     *     *


The developing countries of Europe and Central Asia have been showing steady progress in human development levels. Together with Latin America and the Caribbean, the region has the highest Human Development Index (HDI) among all developing regions. Nevertheless, complex challenges – including globalisation, demographic changes, large migration flows, fast technological progress and environmental degradation - may increase inequalities and reverse recent development achievements there.

The report encourages governments to look beyond the formal sector and to consider the many kinds of work —such as unpaid care, voluntary or creative work – which also equally improves the well-being of people and societies.


“The developing countries of Europe and Central Asia have maintained comparatively low levels of inequalities, including when it comes to gender. But decent work needs to play a central role in furthering development efforts, “said Cihan Sultanoglu, Assistant Administrator and Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS. “Countries can now build on their success if they focus more on education and skills, participation and social protection,” she added.

Together, Europe and Central Asia have a 51 percent employment rate, the second lowest among developing regions after Arab States. Meanwhile, youth unemployment stands at 19.5 percent and in some countries in the region it is even more acute. The region also accounts for large numbers of migrants and other informal workers who do not benefit from any type of social safety net.

In many countries of the region, low population growth rates, migration and a rapidly aging population are leading to population decline and a shrinking labour force, also known as the exhaustion of the demographic dividend.

Economic transformation and promoting new skills are required to make employment opportunities more sustainable

Becoming less vulnerable to climate change and improving energy efficiency remain strategic priorities for the developing countries of Europe and Central Asia, which some indicators suggest is the most carbon-intensive region in the world. Promoting green jobs, as well as more competitive and transparent domestic industries, including extractive sectors, would strengthen human development and make their economies more sustainable.

The report highlights a widening skills gap and shows there is a mismatch in the region between actual skills and those required by a globalized economy. While countries in the region have the highest percentage of tertiary school age population among developing regions, moving towards environmental sustainability and energy efficiency demands new skills, technologies and standards.

“We are moving towards an increasingly polarized world of work. There has never been a better time to be a highly skilled worker and a worse time to be unskilled. Unless action is taken, many people, particularly those already marginalized, might be left behind,” said Selim Jahan, Director of the Human Development Report Office and lead author of the report.

Developing skills, pursuing technology transfers and addressing inequalities among generations can help workers overcome the skills mismatch, the report says.

Women have new work opportunities, yet they perform more unpaid work and care responsibilities than men

Gender inequalities as measured by the Gender Inequality Index are lower in the developing region of Europe and Central Asia than in other developing regions. This is primarily due to low maternal mortality rates.

However, the report also points out that women earn on average 19 percent less than men for paid work and that 30 percent of women employed are in vulnerable employment. Men in the region are also more likely than in any other region to spend their time on leisurely activities than women are. Further, women often carry the burden of providing for their families and communities, a trend that is likely to worsen as population ages.

The report urges countries to improve women’s lives by ensuring equal pay, providing decent parental leave, and tackling the harassment and the social norms that exclude so many of them from paid work. It also calls for more equitable distribution of care work. Europe and Central Asia should also develop targeted strategies to eradicate human trafficking, the report says.

Setting the new agenda for work

While policy responses to the new world of work will differ across countries, three main clusters of policies will be critical if governments and societies are to maximize the benefits and minimize the hardships in the evolving world of work. Strategies are needed for creating work opportunities and ensuring workers’ well-being. The report therefore proposes a three-pronged action agenda:

  • A New Social Contract between governments, society, and the private sector, to ensure that all members of society, especially those working outside the formal sector, have their needs taken into account in policy formulation. 
  • A Global Deal among governments to guarantee workers’ rights and benefits around the world.
  • A Decent Work Agenda, encompassing all workers, that will help promote freedom of association, equity, security, and human dignity in work life.



ABOUT THIS REPORT: The Human Development Report is an editorially independent publication of the United Nations Development Programme. For free downloads of the 2015 Human Development Report, plus additional reference materials on its indices and specific regional implications, please visit:

2015 Human Development Report

Full press package in all UN official languages

UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in more than 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.


Contact information

UNDP Headquarters

Anna Ortubia, Communications Specialist:,

Dylan Lowthian, Communications Specialist:

UNDP Regional Bureau

Nicolas Douillet, Communications Specialist:

For other UNDP Offices, please access:

UNDP Around the world

You are at UNDP Montenegro 
Go to UNDP Global