This paper investigates the role of human development on the economic development paths of Mediterranean countries. An environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) analysis is employed to explain the relationships between economic growth and industrial pollution in the European, Euro-Asian and African-Mediterranean countries, which have different economic and institutional backgrounds. A modified human development index (MHDI) is applied to measure the effects of human development in different countries. The MHDI includes many related social variables such as health effects, political rights, civil liberties. enrollment rate, and adult literacy rate. Apart from France, all countries follow increasing logarithmic or inverse-logarithmic curves that keep on the industrial pollution path. The outcomes of the research presented in this paper clearly point Out the differences between the Northern and Southern Mediterranean countries. Human development should be the first objective of economic development in the Southern countries of the Mediterranean. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.