Norway Best Place to Live; United States 13th

Tuesday, October 06, 2009
(photo: Shutterstock)

There’s more to good living than just money, according to the United Nations Development Programme. The authors of Human Development Reports seek each year to show which countries are better, or worse, at providing a state of well-being for their citizens. The international body does this by weighing a mix of indicators, from life expectancy to literacy levels to standards of living. (It does not, however, take into account other factors that might be deemed important, such as gender or income inequality or human rights records.)

The 2009 Human Development Index has Norway at the top of the list, followed by Australia, Iceland, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Switzerland, and Japan. The United States placed 13th out of a total of 182 countries.
Afghanistan, into which the U.S. is investing billions of dollars to create a modern, democratic society, is ranked second to last (181st). In last place is Niger. Iraq isn’t even on the list, although most of the Iraqi data is available.
-Noel Brinkerhoff


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