Global Rankings

World’s Leading Countries in Human Development for 2019

Norway is the world’s top ranked country in the recently released Human Development Index 2019. Switzerland and Ireland occupy the next two spots while Germany is tied with Hong Kong at fourth.

Not surprisingly, developed countries dominate the rankings, with 21 out of the top 30 being European countries. The top ten countries in the index are all from either Europe or Asia Pacific. Canada is ranked 13th, while United Kingdom and United States are tied at the 15th place. The top ranked country in South America is Chile (42nd) while that in mainland Africa is Algeria (82nd). Russia is ranked 49th.

Ireland is ranked number three in the Human Development Index 2019

Top 20 Countries

The top 20 countries in the Human Development Index 2019 all have an HDI value between 0.96 and 0.91. They are ranked as follows.

  1. Norway
  2. Switzerland
  3. Ireland
  4. Germany
  5. Hong Kong
  6. Australia
  7. Iceland
  8. Sweden
  9. Singapore
  10. Netherlands
  11. Denmark
  12. Finland
  13. Canada
  14. New Zealand
  15. United Kingdom
  16. United States
  17. Belgium
  18. Liechtenstein
  19. Japan
  20. Austria
Map showing country scores for HDI 2019 (Courtesy JackintheBox

Human Development Index

The Human Development Index (HDI) has been computed annually since 1990 by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The HDI was developed by a Pakistani economist, Mahbub ul Haq, in an attempt to more accurately represent human development and welfare than using mere income figures for the purpose.

Read more: These are the World’s Happiest Countries in 2019

The HDI is updated annually and released as part of the Human Development Report, prepared independently by the UNDP. The HDI, with its emphasis on the human dimension, is among the most commonly used indicators of development today. 

Rankings Criteria

The HDI is based on three major dimensions of human life: health, education, and income. The three are together representative of people’s standard of living and the ease of access to basic facilities. The HDI is constructed using the averages of life expectancy at birth, expected schooling years, mean schooling years, and gross national income (GNI) per capita.

Read about the world’s safest cities in 2019 here.

Since 2010, inequality-adjusted indexes are also included in the Human Development Report to better reflect the state of economic and social inequality across countries.

Impact of health, education, and income on human life – Human Development Report 2019

The 189 countries included in the index are categorized into four levels of human development: very high, high, medium, and low, depending on their HDI values. The top 62 countries, with an HDI value of 0.8 or greater, are all in the “very high” category. The HDI value for the world as a whole is 0.731, which places it in the “high” category – ranked 93rd among countries.

The Human Development Report 2019 is available for download on the UNDP website.

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