The Best and the Worst Places to Live

Iceland is the world’s best country to live in, according to the United Nations 2007/2008 Human Development Report.

The “human development index”, which determines the rankings, is judged by life expectancy, adjusted real income, and level of educational attainment. Rounding out the 10 best countries to live in: Norway, Australia, Canada, Ireland., Sweden, Switzerland, Japan, the Netherlands, and France. The United States ranked 12th, dropping four places from its 2006 rating.

With an average life expectancy of 81.5 years and a very high adult literacy rate, Iceland narrowly edged out Norway for the top spot, after six years of Norway taking the number one place. The deciding factors in Iceland’s lead were new life expectancy estimates as well as updated gross domestic product per capita figures.

Analysts compile the annual report based on data from 175 UN member countries as well as Hong Kong and the occupied Palestinian territories. The 2007 rankings do not include Iraq, Somalia, and Afghanistan, as well as 14 other UN member nations due to a lack of reliable data.

The 22 countries with “low human development” rankings fall in sub-Saharan Africa, a region devastated by AIDS. In Zambia (ranked 165 out of 177), one in two children will not live to reach the age of 40. In nine other nations, forty percent of children will perish before they are 40. Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone are ranked lowest on the list.

The major emphasis of the report, in addition to assessing human development, was the devastating impact of climate change. According to the report, there is overwhelming scientific evidence for climate change and the topic must be addressed with “fierce urgency” as the window for meaningful change may be rapidly closing. It says, “The world lacks neither the financial resources nor the technological capabilities to act. What is missing is a sense of urgency, human solidarity and collective interest.”

People relaxing in Iceland’s geothermally heated Blue Lagoon, located near Reykjavik.

Posted by | Comments Off on The Best and the Worst Places to Live  | December 27, 2007
Category: General

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