Norway ranked as best country to live in; Peru has work to do

(LIP-wb) — The United Nations released its Human Development Index 2006 today, which ranks 177 countries by achievements in terms of life expectancy, educational attainment and adjusted real income.

For the sixth consecutive year, Norway is ranked as the best country to live in. Iceland is the runner-up, and Australia, Ireland, Sweden, Canada, Japan, the United States, Switzerland and the Netherlands round up the top ten.

As most people know, Peru has some work left to do if it wants to reach the top 10 eventually. Our country landed in the middle of the pack, in place 82, right behind the most populous country on earth, China, and ahead of our northern neighbor Ecuador.

Last year, Peru was ranked 79th.

The report confirms the polarization between rich and poor countries. In Latin America and the Carribbean, a rift exists between Argentina, ranked 36th, Chile (38) and the countries of Nicaragua (112), Bolivia (115), Honduras (117), Guatemala (118), or Haiti (154).

But the great loser again is Africa, relegated to the last positions.

According to the study, Norwegians earn 40 times more than the study’s lowest ranked country, Niger, live almost twice as long, and have nearly five times the literacy rate.

According to the UN agency,  the index shows that the "rift between the poorest and clearly richest countries has increased" as "human development in sub-Sahara Africa stagnates” and “accelerated” in other world regions.

“After a costly misfortune (in terms of human development) in first half of the 90s, Central Europe, East Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CEI, ex- Soviet Union) have progressed considerably and South- and East Asia continues to thrive since since 1990”, the text explains.

On the other hand, life expectancy in sub-Sahara Africa is inferior to the one 30 years ago.

“Sub-Sahara Africa has not shown any sign of improvement, which is essentially based on the devastating effect of AIDS”, the PNUD adds.

The revealing data of the increasing abyss that separates the most privileged people of the planet is made visible when mentioned that the wealth of the 500 richest people in the world surpass the income of 416 million poorer people all together.

AIDS is not the only factor in charge of widening the inequalities in human development. The lack of access to potable water, which is the cause of death of almost two million children each year, contributes to enlarge the grave.

– related articles –

– Human Development Index 2006 (pdf)