A development indicator is often understood as an easily presented index that represents data on a multi-dimensional concept that is being measured. Indicators are measured for a specific place and time and are typically used to represent, compare and monitor complex development issues such as poverty over time and between countries and regions.Indicators are therefore a key mechanism for measuring progress toward development objectives. To be effective they must communicate useful information - enabling situations to be understood and decisions made. Indicators must be both meaningful - accurately portraying what is happening - and resonant - allowing people to grasp the relevance to their own lives.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Indicators are a widely used example of development indicators.
The World Bank site relates the Goals to indicators that are used to measure country progress.
Similarly, the United Nations website provides definitions for the MDG indicators, allowing to user to analyse country progress.
The Devinfo database system provided by the United Nations contains indicators, time periods and geographic areas organized to monitor global and national commitments to sustained human development. It allows data from a number of different sources with different coverage to be used together in a statistically valid way to derive appropriate indicators. The MDGs and their indicators are a core element of EC development cooperation; the EC has supported training in the Devinfo system.