Human development improves in Costa Rica

December 11, 2012

The canton of Alajuelita, south San José, has the lowest human development figures in the country, while the best canton to live in is Santo Domingo, Heredia, north of the capital, according to a study by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the School of Statistics at the University of Costa Rica (UCR).

The results of the “Cantonal Human Development Index” presented Monday showed a general improvement in the country’s figures from previous research done in 2009. It takes into account the levels of education, quality of life and life expectations. Read the Cantonal Human Development Index here (Spanish only).

The cantons of Belén, Heredia, and Montes de Oca, San José, placed second and third in the country, while the Caribbean cantons of Matina and Talamanca, in Limón, joined Alajuelita at the bottom of the list.

Yoriko Yasukawa, a UNDP expert, said that many cantons showed improvement, but their rankings in the index remained unchanged, due to a general increase in country figures.

Cantons outside the greater metropolitan area reported high human development for the first time in the country’s history. These include Nandayure (ranked No. 10) and Hojancha (No. 14), in the northwestern province of Guanacaste.

Since the 2009 study, Alajuelita has remained at the bottom of the list, despite being located next to the wealthy cantons of Escazú, which ranked fourth, and Santa Ana, ranked seventh.

UCR researcher Edgar Gutiérrez said that Alajuelita has a primary school enrollment of only 48 percent and just 32 percent in high school.

“We should go to the cantons that ranked well and to those that went up in the table to see what the secret is and copy it,” Gutiérrez said.

CHDI 2011
Position Canton Value
1 Santo Domingo 0,961
2 Belén 0,939
3 Montes de Oca 0,930
4 Escazú 0,924
5 Flores 0,919
6 Moravia 0,915
7 Santa Ana 0,913
8 San Pablo 0,903
9 San Rafael 0,885
10 Nandayure 0,879
11 San Isidro 0,863
12 San Mateo 0,859
13 Tibás 0,853
14 Hojancha 0,852
15 Orotina 0,847
16 Curridabat 0,844
17 El Guarco 0,844
18 Liberia 0,839
19 Dota 0,830
20 Barva 0,829
21 Esparza 0,823
22 Heredia 0,822
23 Santa Bárbara 0,814
24 Mora 0,814
25 Golfito 0,813
26 Cartago 0,812
27 Atenas 0,807
28 Tilarán 0,807
29 Oreamuno 0,805
30 Jiménez 0,801
31 Puntarenas 0,800
32 La Unión 0,796
33 Abangares 0,792
34 San Carlos 0,790
35 Santa Cruz 0,789
36 Osa 0,786
37 Nicoya 0,785
38 Puriscal 0,784
39 Turrubares 0,781
40 Cañas 0,779
41 Grecia 0,779
42 Corredores 0,779
43 Montes de Oro 0,778
44 Acosta 0,777
45 Alvarado 0,776
46 Parrita 0,768
47 Aguirre 0,762
48 Carrillo 0,762
49 Goicoechea 0,762
50 Pérez Zeledón 0,760
51 Palmares 0,758
52 San José 0,756
53 Turrialba 0,755
54 Bagaces 0,755
55 Valverde Vega 0,750
56 Alajuela 0,749
57 San Ramón 0,738
58 Coronado 0,738
59 Upala 0,738
60 Coto Brus 0,737
61 Aserrí 0,731
62 Siquirres 0,729
63 Zarcero 0,726
64 Garabito 0,721
65 Paraíso 0,721
66 Naranjo 0,719
67 La Cruz 0,716
68 Poás 0,713
69 León Cortes 0,696
70 Tarrazú 0,696
71 Guácimo 0,695
72 Desamparados 0,677
73 Limón 0,674
74 Los Chiles 0,671
75 Pococí 0,671
76 Guatuso 0,659
77 Sarapiquí 0,655
78 Buenos Aires 0,654
79 Matina 0,613
80 Talamanca 0,611
81 Alajuelita 0,596
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