This rapid literature review explores whether there are specific characteristics of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), or a subgroup of SIDS, which mean that income alone is an inaccurate measure of development. This review found some studies that explicitly state that income is an inadequate indicator for measuring development in SIDS. However, the literature on SIDS more commonly focuses on the SIDS’ specific needs and characteristics, rather than focusing on their income status. Despite the lack of focus in the literature, the conclusion that income is an inadequate indicator for measuring development in SIDS could be inferred from: the widespread identification of the SIDS as having specific development needs; the development of specific indexes to measure vulnerability; the political focus on raising attention to the SIDS’ needs; and the increased risks, and knowledge of the risks, from the climate crisis to SIDS.
K4D helpdesk reports provide summaries of current research, evidence and lessons learned. This report was commissioned by the UK Department for International Development
Herbert, S. (2019). Development indicators and the Small Island Developing States. K4D Helpdesk Report. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.