Norway, Iceland, Australia, Ireland and Sweden are the best five countries to live in, according to a UN report released on Thursday. Just like last year, Israel placed 23rd on the list.
Israel ranked just below Hong Kong, but ranked better than Greece and Singapore. As for the Arab countries, Kuwait was the highest ranked
among them at 33rd, above Bahrain (39), Qatar (46), and the UAE, (49). Iran ranked 96th, and the Palestinian Authority ranked 100th.
The Human Development Index, prepared by the UN Development Program, has been issued annually since 1990 examines per-capita income, education, health care and life expectancy in measuring a nation's well-being and includes every country for which statistics are available.
According to the report, Africa's quality of life has plummeted because of AIDS. The United States was ranked in eighth place, after Canada and Japan.
The list of 177 nations ends with Niger. Above it are Sierra Leone, Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, the Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia, Burundi, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which ranked 167. For the 31 countries with low human development, life expectancy is only 46 years -- some 32 years less than in rich nations, the report said.
But some nations have a rank above their income. Vietnam for example is poor but ranks above countries with a higher per capita income. Conversely Bahrain has an average income twice the level of Chile but ranks lower because it "under-performs on education and literacy," the report said.
The report indicates that since 1990, sub-Sahara Africa has stagnated, in part because of economic decline but mainly because of the "catastrophic effect of Top of Form HIV/AIDS on life expectancy," the report said.