Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Best places to live, according to UN

NorwayAccording to the 2009 United Nations Human Development Report, Norway is the best country in the world to live in.

The criteria used for the report (182 countries): Life expectancy, literacy rates, school enrolment and country economies. It must be noted though that this report is based on data up to 2007 (therefore before the global economic crisis).

10 best places to live
  1. Norway
  2. Australia
  3. Iceland
  4. Canada
  5. Ireland
  6. the Netherlands
  7. Sweden
  8. France
  9. Switzerland
  10. Japan
USA is 13th, China 92nd and South Africa is placed 129th. The least desirable countries to live in are Niger and Afghanistan. Life expectancy in Niger is only 50 years, 30 years less than Norway. The disparity between rich and poor is quite evident from the report.

Full Human Development Report 2009 (list of chapters in PDF format)

Looking at the criteria used to compile the report, it does take quite a materialistic approach to determine 'human' development. One could argue that 'quality of life' is more important than 'standard of living' and how you measure the former is debatable. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, ecological awareness, moral development, recreaton etc. are all factors which could have influenced the rankings.

Also, countries with a very rich upper class but a large lower class (in terms of income) could still appear to have a good 'standard of living' index when in fact, it's not the case.


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