The United Nations (UN) annual Human Development Report is here. It ranks countries on the basis of where people live long, healthy lives – in other words, the countries that are best to live in.
According to the UN report, the world is becoming a better place to live in. Although 800 million people in the world still go to bed hungry every day, over 1 billion people have risen out of extreme poverty in the past 25 years.
The organisation looked at nearly 200 countries across a number of categories, including life expectancy, education, gender equality, and financial wealth.
As per the report, here are the countries that scored the highest:
#1 Hong Kong
The high life expectancy with an average life span at 84 years, Hong Kong topped the list.
#2 United States
With average earnings pegged at $53,245 per year, the US ranks second on the list.
Canada flies high on education. With more than half of its residents graduating from college, Canada is tied with the United States, at number three.
Iceland stands fourth with high life expectancy. The average life span here is 82.7 years.
With very low homicide rate at just 1.1 per 100,000 people, Ireland is number 5.
#6 The Netherlands
Netherlands has the rare achievement of having the lowest rates of income inequality in the world at 12.4 percent. It’s been continuously going flat since the mid-1990s. No wonder that it stands at number six.
People here have long lives, too. The average life expectancy is over 83 years in Singapore.
Denmark is tied-up with Singapore in the rankings. It has one of the lowest wage gaps in the world. Median wages between men and women is now at 7.8 percent for full-time employees in Denmark. For comparison, the gap is around 17.9 percent in the US.
In what can only be called an exemplary move, as of October 2014, all universities are free for residents and international students in Germany. Over 96 percent of the population has minimum secondary education.
It ranks high in overall health. Average lifespan is 83 years. The population here is at a relatively low risk for diseases like, malaria, HIV and tuberculosis.
Education makes up over 5 percent of the national GDP of Autralia, which is tied with Switzerland. Research pegged that most students go to school for around 20 years in Australia.
For the 13th consecutive year, Norway ranked highest in the standard of living, life expectancy, and education. Thanks to the country’s robust, publicly funded healthcare system, the average life expectancy is 82 years.
The report also noted several pitfalls that work against human progress. These are, discrimination, intolerance and social norms that target vulnerable groups like, women and racial minorities, who face prejudice in a number of areas, including employment, education and property rights.