Norway again rated top country to live in

Norway has again been rated as the best country in the world to live in on the United Nations Development Index. Australia is second on the UNDP ranking list, and Iceland third.

All the Nordic countries are found among the top 20 nations on the ranking list. Sweden is 7th, Finland 12th and Denmark 16th. France rejoined the top 10 countries after dropping down for one year, while Luxembourg fell from the top 10. The ranking among the 182 nations is based on life expectancy, level of education, and gross national product (GNP) per inhabitant.

Each year since 1990 the Human Development Report has published the human development index (HDI) which looks beyond GDP to a broader definition of well-being. The HDI provides a composite measure of three dimensions of human development: living a long and healthy life (measured by life expectancy), being educated (measured by adult literacy and gross enrolment in education) and having a decent standard of living (measured by purchasing power parity, PPP, income). The index is not in any sense a comprehensive measure of human development. It does not, for example, include important indicators such as gender or income inequality nor more difficult to measure concepts like respect for human rights and political freedoms. What it does provide is a broadened prism for viewing human progress and the complex relationship between income and well-being.

Of the components of the HDI, only income and gross enrolment are somewhat responsive to short term policy changes. For that reason, it is important to examine changes in the human development index over time. The human development index trends tell an important story in that respect.

Between 1980 and 2007 Norway’s HDI rose by 0.28% annually from 0.900 to 0.971 today. HDI scores in all regions have increased progressively over the years (Figure 1) although all have experienced periods of slower growth or even reversals.

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