21 September 2005

The Web

Malta regresses in UN human development index

James Debono

The United Nations Development Programme Human Development Report shows that Malta’s human development index has fallen for the first time since 1975.
Malta’s human development index has fallen from the 0.875 in 2004 to 0.867 in 2005.
Most of the data used for the 2005 report comes from statistics published in 2003.
The human development index is a standard means of measuring well-being and is based on factors like education, life expectancy apart from GDP per capita.
Ever since 1975, Malta’s well-being has improved at a steady rate from 0.727 in 1975 to 0.875 in 2004.
In this year’s report Malta was ranked 32nd, one place down since last year and two places down since 2003.
Malta ranks below fellow new EU members Slovenia, Cyprus and the Czech Republic but it ranks better than Poland, Hungary and the Baltic states.
The human development index (HDI) is a composite index that measures the average achievements in a country in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, as measured by life expectancy at birth; knowledge, as measured by the adult literacy rate and combined gross enrolment ratio for primary, secondary and tertiary schools; and a decent standard of living, as measured by GDP per capita in purchasing power parity (PPP) US dollars.
The UNDP’s statistics underline the disparity between Europe, North America and Oceania and the rest of the world.
Japan, Israel, Singapore,South Korea and Barbados are the only Asian and Caribbean countries to make it in the top 30.
No African country makes it to the top thirty.
The country scoring the lowest score is famine ravaged Niger.
Norway and Iceland, two nordic European countries which have not opted for EU membership top the UNDP human development chart.
But the European Union as a whole comes out as the richest economic block in the world with twelve of the top 20 nations hailing from the European Union.
The world strongest economic power, the USA ranks 10th, one place below Belgium.


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