Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Happy to Be Living in # 4!

Earlier this month, the United Nations Development Program released its annual Human Development Index. This index is based on statistics for various countries’ average life expectancy, literacy rates, school enrollment, and per capita gross domestic product.

Some feel the report is skewed as it is based mainly on data from 2007, before the global recession was at its worst. Many have pointed out that Iceland would not be as high as third on the list if this index was created with more recent data. I would point out that the USA might be even lower on the list than thirteenth if the data used was more recent.

This year’s report paid special attention to migration of people from one country to another—the effects on the migrants as well as on the countries most affected by migration.

The report stated, "Most migrants, internal and international, reap gains in the form of higher incomes, better access to education and health and improved prospects for their children."

Likewise, the report implied that countries where the workforce is aging can benefit from an influx of skilled workers from other lands. I would like to think that Canada has already benefited from the arrival and settlement of same-sex couples who cannot live together in their own countries. I would also think that the US has had a bit of a brain drain, as couples from the US moving to Canada will only be able to move to Canada if they qualify based on education, health, and job skills (and more).

Some people are critical of the Human Development Index because they don’t feel it is an accurate way to measure the quality of life . However, there’s no doubt that this UN measurement is based on actual statistics from many facets of life in those countries. Show me a measurement this more comprehensive, based on just as many statistics, and assesses the quality of life of the average citizen, and I’ll take that into consideration as well. Until then, I am pretty certain that the grass really has been greener here for me. I feel happier and healthier than when I lived in the US.

Top 20 countries on the Human Development Index:
1. Norway
2. Australia
3. Iceland
4. Canada
5. Ireland
6. Netherlands
7. Sweden
8. France
9. Switzerland
10. Japan
11. Luxembourg
12. Finland
13. United States
14. Austria
15. Spain
16. Denmark
17. Belgium
18. Italy
19. Liechtenstein
20. New Zealand

Here is a link to the 229 page report:

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