Korea ‘quality of life’ rises sharply
Korea ranked 12th among 169 nations this year in terms of “quality of life,” up 14 notches in the past four years, according to a United Nations Development Program (UNDP) report released on Thursday.
The Human Development Report 2010 showed Korea’s ranking as having jumped to the 12th spot from its previous annual standing of 26th in 2006.
The Human Development Index (HDI) evaluates nations according to their citizens’ quality of life rather than strictly by a nation’s traditional economic figures. The criteria includes life expectancy, the level of education and standard of living.
Analysts say Korea’s rise can be attributed to European countries’ sharp fall in the rankings following the global financial meltdown and eurozone debt problems that hit such countries as France, Finland, Italy, Iceland and Denmark.
For example, Iceland’s ranking plunged to 17th this year from third place last year.
The UNDP report took note of countries that have rapidly improved their HDI scores over the last 40 years. South Korea was ranked 8th among the top ten nations in that category, along with Oman, China, Nepal, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Laos, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. Norway again topped the ranking this year at the No. 1 spot, while Zimbabwe came in last.