Norway Is Not the Most Comfortable Country for Residence Any More

The United Nations Organization /UNO/ has published the periodical rating of world’s countries developed by its experts. It distributes countries according to the quality of life and optimal conditions for citizens, rather than to their wealth or size of the territory. In their “Report on Human Development in 2007-2008” the UNO experts have published the results of their own studies as well as analysis of data of other international and intergovernmental funds and organizations.

The experts have chosen rather common criteria of assessing the level of life and well-being of the country’s population – the level of GDP per capita, duration of life and availability of education /judging by the number of citizens who have got any qualification or can merely read and write/. They have also taken into account general democratic values – the situation with human rights, the right to take part in public activity and the freedom of expression. The level of social protection of citizens in different countries, health indicators, the degree of cultural development of the population, as well as criminality rate and environment preservation are also of importance for researchers.

On the whole, the rating includes 175 UNO member-states, as well as Hong Kong (having the status of a special administrative district of China) and the Palestinian Autonomy. Other 17 countries have not been taken in the account within the investigation, since there is no necessary information on them. Thus, the authors managed to summarize data from almost all over the globe. The UNO experts have been carrying out such activities for already 17 years – starting with 1990. Although the rating has changed during these years, this is the first time for Norway, the rating leader, to yield the palm to the island state of Iceland. This year the Icelanders have surpassed the Norwegians in all indicators, such as longevity of population, access to knowledge and the level of life. The duration of life is one of the biggest in the world here – 81 years for women and 76 years for men, and the level of GDP per capita makes up 36.5 thousand dollars annually. There are almost no poor people. Class differences are very faint, if any. On the whole, the population of Iceland makes up only 250 thousand people. However, authorities have managed to ensure them a decent living.

At what expense? This small country does not belong to the European Union. The Icelanders consider the unification in accordance with requirements and norms of the “common European home” unfavorable for them. The EU quotes for fishing, the main branch of the country’s economy, are the main problem. Tourism makes up another source of income. The unbelievable and unreal beauty of the Icelandic scenery, its genuine virgin nature attracts foreign tourists like a magnet. According to numerous tourists, Iceland, the most western country with the most northern capital, charms once and for all. Local environment is strictly protected by the legislation. The first roads were built only in the beginning of the XX century here. Nowadays, mostly air transport is used. In the old days, houses of farmers and certain urban citizens were built of peat. At present they can hardly be found even in museums. Modern Icelanders live in solid spacious houses with a well-arranged heating system, considered the best in the world.

On the whole, Iceland is a rather expensive country. Almost everything is imported here and shall cost you a pretty penny like on any other island. The prices for foodstuff, apartments and public utilities are extremely high here. As a matter of fact, Iceland is considered the second most expensive country for tourists after Japan. The average amount of money recommended by the tourist agencies makes up 500 dollars per day. Otherwise, you shall have to save on something. However, the islanders are accustomed to such prices. Besides, they have corresponding incomes.

But let us come back to our rating. As we have already mentioned, Norway has lowered to the second place. However, Scandinavian countries all the same occupy the first positions of the rating along with other economically developed countries. The third place is occupied by Australia with the biggest share of people receiving education in the world. Then come Canada, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, Japan, the Netherlands and France. The United States have occupied only the 12th position in the rating, Great Britain – the 16th position, Germany – the 22nd position, Israel – the 23rd position. Luxembourg remains the record-holder as regards the level of GDP per capita – more than 60 thousand dollars per inhabitant annually.

Russia turned out to be on the 67th position, almost enclosing the list of highly developed countries in opinion of the UNO. Last year Russia occupied the 65th poison after losing 3 points as compared to the year of 2005. All the same, Belarus is the only CIS country that has left Russia behind. It occupies the 64th position in the rating. By the way, it managed to rise – last year it occupied the 67th position. The list of developed countries also includes the Baltic countries – Latvia occupies the 43rd position, Estonia – the 44th position and Lithuania – the 45th position.

In most rapidly developing countries, the level of well-being has been appreciated as medium. Thus, China occupies the 81st position, the oil Iran – the 94th position. According to the UNO, most CIS countries are medium. Kazakhstan occupies the 73rd position, Ukraine – the 76th position, Armenia – the 83rd position, Georgia – the 96th position, Azerbaijan – the 98th position. Others have not even entered the first hundred. Thus, Turkmenistan has occupied only 109th position, Moldova – the 111th position, Uzbekistan – the 113th position, Kyrgyzstan – the 116th position and Tajikistan – the 122nd position. This Central Asian country constantly remains the outsider of the post soviet area. It has the lowest education level and the level of GDP per capita – 71 per cent and 1.4 thousand dollars respectively.

As one might expect, African countries – Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso and Guinea Bissau – have been declared the most unsuitable countries for residence. They have extremely short duration of life – from 40 to 50 years. Not more than 30% of the population can read and write, and the level of GDP per capita makes up less than 1 thousand dollars per person.

On the whole, international organizations often make up ratings of countries, assessing them according to various criteria. In 2006 the international agency “State of World Liberty” published the rating reflecting the level of freedom in various countries. Although, the most free country in the world at that time experts declared… Estonia.

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