UN: Norway Is The Best Place To Live, New Zealand Ranks 20th
By Andreas von Warburg
No matter how cold its winter, or inhospitable the north of the country, Norway is the best place to live according to a
recently publish UN report. Iceland is second. The report, compiled by the United Nations Development Fund, the biggest
UN entity by budget and foreign offices, ranks 177 countries according to a so-called Human Development Index (HDI).
New Zealand, with a score of 0.936 ranks 20th, right after the United Kingdom (0.940) and Spain (0.938). Germany, with a
score of 0.932, places 21st in the listing. New Zealand’s score has been steadily improving since the late 90s: in 1995
it was 0.906, while in 2000 it was 0.925.
This year’s Human Development Index, which refers to data from 2004, highlights the very large gaps in well-being and
life chances that continue to divide our increasingly interconnected world. By looking at some of the most fundamental
aspects of people’s lives and opportunities it provides a much more complete picture of a country’s development than
other indicators, such as GDP per capita.
“Human development index trends tell an important story,” the report reads. “Since the mid-1970s almost all regions have
been progressively increasing their HDI score. East Asia and South Asia have accelerated progress since 1990. Central
and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), following a catastrophic decline in the first half
of the 1990s, has also recovered to the level before the reversal. The major exception is Sub-Saharan Africa. Since 1990
it has stagnated, partly because of economic reversal but principally because of the catastrophic effect of HIV/AIDS on