Technical Notes

The following are the indicators used for computing the Basic Capabilities Index:

1. Under-five mortality rate. Under-5 mortality rate is defined as the probability of a child born in a specific year or period to die before reaching the age of five, if subject to age-specific mortality rates of that period, that is, a probability of death derived from a life table and expressed as a rate per 1,000 live births (Health statistics and health information systems, World Health Organization accessed from <>). We express this indicator by subtracting x/1000 from 100, where x is the number of deaths under-5 per 1000 live births.  Data for this indicator were obtained from UNICEF State of the World’s Children 2011.

2. Births attended by skilled health personnel. This is defined as the percentage of live births attended by skilled health personnel in a given period of time. Data for this indicator were mainly obtained from Global Health Observatory Data Repository (World Health Organization), and from the UN official website for MDG indicators and UNdata 2003-2008 (<>) was used for countries with no data available from the WHO. Data were imputed for first world countries (such as Germany, Norway, US, etc.) which have no available data from the sources mentioned. 

3. Education. The education indicator consists of three sub-indicators: 

a. Adult literacy rate. The adult literacy rate is the percentage of population aged 15 and above who can both write and read a short simple statement on their everyday life. It is calculated by dividing the number of literates (aged 15+) by the corresponding population age group and multiplying the result by 100 (UNESCO Institute for Statistics Glossary, <>). 

b. Primary Net Enrollment Rate (NER). This is defined as the enrollment of the official age group expressed as a percentage of the corresponding population, which is calculated by dividing the number of pupils (or students) enrolled who are of the official age group for primary level by the population for the same age group and multiplying the result by 100 (UNESCO Institute for Statistics Glossary, <>).  

c. Survival rate to fifth grade. This is the percentage of a cohort of pupils enrolled in the first grade of a given level or cycle of education in a given school year who are expected to reach fifth grade (UNESCO Institute for Statistics Glossary, <>). 

The main source for these sub-indicators is the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) data centre, <>. The earliest data available from 1990 to 1995 were used for the year 1990, data available from 1998 to 2002 were used for the year 2000, and the latest available data from 2005 to 2011 were used for the year 2011. Data for the year 1990 were mainly gathered from Global Monitoring Report 2010 and World Bank database, since data from UIS were only available from 1999, except for the adult literacy rate indicator. Data not available from UIS and GMR were obtained from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), 2010 Statistical Yearbook for Latin America and the Caribbean in <>, accessed on May 2011 and from the  United Nations Statistics Division, <> accessed on May 2011. Since there are many missing data for the Survival rate to fifth grade indicator, survival rate to the last grade of primary school (also obtained for UIS) was considered for countries with no data. 

Data for each sub-indicator were rescaled from 0 to 100 using the following formula which was adopted from HDR. After rescaling all the values of each sub-indicator, the education indicator is computed by averaging three rescaled sub-indicators, if three have values, or taking the average of two, if one has missing value.  No value is given if more than one sub-indicator is absent. 

Rescaling was also done for the two other indicators - Under-five mortality rate and Maternal health indicators. The raw BCI value is computed by taking the average of the rescaled values of the three indicators, if all three have values, and the average of two indicators, if only two have values. No value is given if more than one indicator is missing. 

The index values expressed from 0 to 100 are then “rescaled back” to put the values back into the original range of BCI values so that comparison with previous BCI calculation becomes possible. 

(1) The BCI/GEI Technical Group is composed of the research team from Action for Economic Reforms (AER) and Social Watch Philippines (SWP) - Rene Raya, Maria Luz Aniagan, Karla Machel Raya and Alvelyn Joy Berdan