Methodology for UN e-Government Index ranking

Methodology for UN e-Government Index ranking

The EGDI is used as a benchmark to provide a numerical ranking of e-government development across United Nations Member states. The methodology briefed in this post takes reference from UN e-government ranking 2018 reports.


The E-Government Development Index (EGDI) is a weighted average of normalized score of following dimesions of e-government:

1. Online Service Index (OSI) which is scope and quality of online services

2. Telecommunication Infrastructure Index (TII) whish is the status of the development of Telecommunication Infrastructure

3. Human Capital Index (HCI) which is the inherent Human Capital


“EGDI = 1/3 (OSI + TII + HCI)”

To ensure that the overall EGDI is equally decided by the three component indexes, Z-score standardization is implemented for each one of them. In absence of z-score standardization, EGDI would mainly depend on the component with greatest dispersion. 


For standard, z-score calculation


Xnew = (x – µ)/ σ


  x is a raw score to be standardized;

  µ is the mean of the population;

  σ is the standard deviation of the population.


The composite value of each index is then normalized to fall between 0 and 1, and the overall EGDI is calculated by taking average of 3 component indexes.

Telecommunication Infrastructure Index (TII)


The TII is indicated is arithmetic average of 5 indicators:


1. Estimated internet users per 100  inhabitants who used internet from any location in last 3 months

2. Number of main fixed telephone lines per 100 inhabitants who have telephone lines connecting a customer’s terminal equipment to public switched telecommunication network

3. Number of mobile users per 100 inhabitants which is the number of subscriptions to mobile service in last 3 months

4. Number of wireless broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants where subscriptions refer to the sum of satellite broadband, terresterial fixed wireless broadband and active mobile broadband subscriptions to the public internet.

5. Number of fixed broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants where subscriptions refers to high speed access to the public internet (TCP/ IP conncetion) at downstream speed equal to greater than 256 kbits/s.


Each of these indicators is standardized through Z-score procedure. 

Average of the 5 Z-score indicators (say A) for TII is then normalized by (A-min)/(max-min) where min and max are the lowest and highest composite values

This is the final Telecommunication Infrastructure Index (TII)

Human Capital Index (HCI)


The Human Capital Index (HCI) consists of 4 parameters:


1. Adult literacy rate: This is defined as the percentage of people aged above 15 years and above who can read and write short & simple statements

2. Combined primary, secondary and tertiary gross enrolment ratio, which is the total number of students enrolled at primary, secondary, and tertiary level, regardless of age, as a percentage of the population of school age at that level.

3. Expected years of schooling: It is the total number of years of scholing that a child can expect to receive in the future. Assumption is that the probability is equal to current enrollment ratio age.

4. Average years of schooling: Mean Years of Schooling (MYS) is average number of year of education completed by country’s adult population (25+ years) excluding the years repeating grades.


HCI is weighted average composite of 4 indicators. The human capital composite value for country “x” is the weighted arithmetic mean with one-third weight assigned to adult literacy rate and two-ninth weight assigned to the gross enrolment ratio, estimated years of schooling and mean years of schooling derived this way:


Human capital composite value =

 1⁄3× Adult literacy rate Z-score +

 2⁄9× Gross enrolment ratio Z-score +

 2⁄9 × Estimated years of schooling Z-score +

 2⁄9 × Mean years of schooling Z-score


Composite value is then ormalized by (A-min)/(max-min) where min and max are the lowest and highest composite values

This is the final Human Capital Index (HCI).

Online Service Index (OSI)


Online Service Index (OSI) using data collected by UNDESA from an independent questionnaire that assesses national online presence. The data is collected by UN volunteer researchers from member countries.  The survey questionnaire assesses a number of features related to online service delivery, including whole-of-government approaches, open government data, e-participation, multi-channel service delivery, mobile services, usage uptake, digital divide as well as innovative partnerships through the use of ICTs. Some criteria and indicators are Technology ( ), Content Provision 


Some of the criteria/ indicators are mentioned as under


The exact methodology is a closely guarded secret, as the UN wants to encourage countries to look at outcomes for their context, rather than trying to game the rankings. But, in a step toward transparency, there’s a full list of features assessed in the 2018 Survey, for the first time.

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