|--- The Best ---|
|30||United Arab Emirates||84.6||72.9|
The United Nations produces an annual Human Development Report which includes the Human Development Index. The factors taken into account include life expectancy, education and schooling and Gross National Income (GNI).
Norway has been the top of this list since ousting Canada in 2001. I show the 2011 data as it is the most up to date and is therefore interesting, but points here are actually awarded for countries' average position for each decade; taken from 1980, 1990, 2000 and 2010. This dampens any effect of short-term changes that don't truly reflect on how much we should respect and emulate that country. Anyone can go on a spending spree, look good a while, and then crash! A large country could do this for years and manage to bump up GNI, and therefore affect their ranking, before then crashing and burning.
Lichtenstein tops the averages chart because it has had pretty good ratings, but, mostly because the countries that top the charts in recent decades (the Scandinavian countries) done less well in the 1980s, which brought down their average.
Source: UN HDR 2011 table 1.
|Highest, in Years|
|Lowest, in Years|
|5||Central African Republic||48.4|
Life Expectancy is already factored into the United Nation's Human Development Index, so, countries are not given scores again for this data. It is shown here just for interest's sake. Data is taken from the UN HDR 2011. Japan has topped this table for a long time; for example in 1989 its average life expectancy was 78.6 which was still higher than any other country2. Life expectancy reflects overall cultural health, including diet, the health services systems, attitudes to exercise and well being, and also family structure and caring. Life expectancy stats are sometimes skewed by taking into account immigration, so that much of the time stats are compiled of natural-born inhabitants only.
Source: UN HDR 2011 table 1.
|3||Central African Republic||3.6|
It is of course true that the happiest people are not those who are necessarily leading the best lives. Excess, indulgence and short-term policy can all lead to a high rating on this chart; things like living morally and frugally, for example, do not automatically go hand in hand with happiness. For this reason, this data is being shown on this page just for general interest and does not form part of the scoring for each country.
Despite the above disclaimer, it turns out to be true that those nations that score high on the moral and long-term issues on this page are also those who tend to be happiest.
Source: UN HDR 2011 table 8. The UN's data is the latest available from a range of data from 2006-2010 across countries.
|Best Rates (2011)|
|8||St Vincent & the Grenadines||2.0|
|Most Dangerous Rates (2011)|
|8||Timor-Leste (East Timor)||5.9|
The fertility rate is, in simple terms, the average amount of children that each woman has. The higher the figure, the quicker the population is growing, although, to calculate the rate you also need to take into account morbidity, i.e., the rate at which people die. In order to calculate the points for each country, I had to pick an optimum fertility rate, and then detract points as countries strayed from it. I have opted for the round figure of 2.0. If people live healthy and long lives and morbidity is low, then, 2.0 approximates to the replacement rate. At this precise value, the population neither grows nor shrinks. The actual replacement rate in most developed countries is around 2.1. I have opted for a slightly low value of 2.0 because the population right now is too high, therefore, the best fertility rate is probably one that will see a gradual decline in population numbers. The decline cannot be fast however, as this tends to create severe economic problems. So, any country that is either below 2.0 or above 2.0 loses points.
Source: UN HDR 2011.
|10||United Arab Emirates||7.9|
|10||Central African Republic||5.3|
“The cornerstones of economic freedom are personal choice, voluntary exchange, freedom to compete, and security of privately owned property.”
Fraser Institute (2012)
The Economic Freedom of the World reports of the Fraser Institute combined multiple factors into a single index. These include government size and consumption, tax rates, judicial independence, protection of property rights, military interference in politics, the integrity of the legal system, enforced laws of contracts, regulatory restrictions, costs of crime to business, inflation, freedom in banking, tariffs and trade barriers, the black market, capital controls, trade freedoms, regulations on hiring and firing staff and costs of beaurocracy in business, and more.
|Best on Environment (2011)|
|Worst on Environment (2011)|
|2||Central African Republic||33.3|
|12||United Arab Emirates||40.7|
The worst countries on this scale generally use massive quantities of natural resources in an unsustainable manner and are host to massive-scale deforestation and have populations that are rising quickly. Between 1990 and 2008 Sierra Leone lost 11% of its forest area, for example. Central African Republic lost 2.3%. Turkmenistan and United Arab Emirates have only a tiny percentage of their primary energy supply sourced from renewables (both under 0.03%). Equatorial Guinea saw its CO2 emissions per person rise by 11% between 1970-2008, the second highest in the world after Bhutan. Incredibly for an island, under 13% of those in Haiti believe that human activity is causing global warming, whilst only 29% believe it in United Arab Emirates and Turkmenistan.
The best countries are not better in all criteria but normally excel in a few categories. Iceland produces 82% of its primary energy supply through renewable sources. Its CO2 emissions per person rose only by 0.1 percent. It more than doubled its forested area between 1990 and 2008. Switzerland reduced its CO2 emissions per person by 0.5% and also increased its forested areas.
Source: UN HDR 2011 table 6. The United Nation's Environmental performance index includes 25 indicators including air pollution, (de)forestation, natural resources use, etc. Various data sets are the latest and best available which are reasonably comprehensive. Some are a little old, for example the primary energy supply statistics are from 2007.
|8||Central African Republic||2.87|
"The 2012 Global Peace Index is the sixth edition of the world’s leading study on global levels of peacefulness. The GPI ranks 158 nations using 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly respected sources, which gauge three broad themes: the level of safety and security in society; the extent of domestic or international conflict; and the degree of militarisation. By generating new information on the state of peace at the national and global level, the Institute for Economics and Peace hopes to make a valuable contribution to better understanding how civil society, researchers, policymakers, and government can create a more peaceful society."
GPI Fact Sheet
Other comments on the creation of the Peace Index:
“The Dalai Lama said that he hoped the index would encourage countries to strive for peace. "Compiling and maintaining an index of which countries are the most peaceful and publishing the results will undoubtedly make the factors and qualities that contribute to that status better known and will encourage people to foster them in their own countries," he said.”
Despite the positive appeal of the Global Peace Index, it is imperfect and as with all international statistics, some countries appear to have a natural advantage. In this case, it is small countries which exist inside regional blocs, where their bigger neighbours spend on defence. You can't invade Denmark (2nd) or Switzerland (12th) without stepping on the toes of many other countries which have meatier defences, so there is less incentive for those countries to invest in defence. Although note that of course defence spending is only one of the many factors considered by the GPI, it is easy to imagine that a country such as Israel (151st), surrounded by aggressive neighbours, could never score well on this index.
|Year and Country|
|20||Bosnia & Herzegovina||21|
There are many international agreements on human rights, and, many mechanisms by which countries can be brought to account for their actions. Together, these have been the biggest historical movement in the fight against oppression and inhumanity. Or, putting it another way: these are rejected mostly by those who wish to oppress inhumanely. None of them are perfect and many people object to various components and wordings, but, no-one has come up with, and enforced, better methods of controlling the occasional desires that states and peoples have of causing angst for other states and peoples in a violent, unjust or inhumane way. Points are awarded for the number of human rights agreements ratified by the country, plus the acceptance of the petition mechanisms for disputes. The maximum possible score is 24.
“This ranking is comprised of the 8 core United Nations International Human Rights Treaties and their Optional Protocols, individual petition mechanisms under ICCPR, ICERD, CAT, CEDAW and CRPD, the Genocide Convention, the 1949 Geneva Conventions and its two Additional Protocols, the Refugee Convention and its Protocol and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Argentina is, at this time, the only state that has ratified all of the treaties and accepted all the individual petition mechanisms. The Latin American and the Caribbean Group (GRULAC) has the highest number of ratifications, with 8 out of the 12 states ranking 1st and 2nd coming from the region. Western European and Others Group make up the other four states ranked second. The bottom end of the chart is made up predominantly of Asian states or small island states. Bhutan and Kiribati have the lowest ranking at just three ratifications each. Both have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the 1949 Geneva Conventions.
Two of the five permanent members of the Security Council - France and the United Kingdom - are in the top five and two current non-permanent members - Costa Rica and Mexico - are joint second. Of the permanent members, the "The United States of America: Foreign Policy and International Discord" by Vexen Crabtree (2002) scores the lowest with a ranking of 17. The Top 5 of the United Nations Development Index of 2008 are also in the top five of the Ratifications by Country list.”
NCHR Report (2009)
Nominal Commitment to Human Rights report published by UCL, London, UK, at ucl.ac.uk/spp/research/research-projects/nchr accessed 2011 Apr 30.
|Year and Country|
Women now have equal rights in the vast majority of countries across the world.
Although literature talks of countries granting the "women's right to vote", in a democracy where all people have a voice in government it is more the case that women are "no longer denied their right to vote" rather than being "granted" a right that they already had, but, were denied.
The opposition to women's ability to vote in equality with man was most consistently and powerfully opposed by the Catholic Church, various other Christian organisations, Islamic authorities and some other religious and secular traditionalists.
United Nations Human Development Report 2005 lists when 185 countries granted women the ability to vote. Data here is amended to show the date from when women had both the right to vote and to stand for election. In some cases where the data is unclear, I use the date of the right to vote rather than have no data.
#1. "Sociology" by Anthony Giddens (1997) using Lisa Tuttle 'Encyclopedia of Feminism' (1986) p370-1.
#2. The Economist (2006 Sep 09) p29 article "The Swedish Model".
#3. Female suffrage by country", IPU (Inter-Parliamentary Union). 1995. Women in Parliaments 1945-1995: A World Statistical Survey. Geneva and IPU (Inter-Parliamentary Union). 2001. Correspondence on year women received the right to vote and to stand for election and year first woman was elected or appointed to parliament. March. Geneva. Retrieved from www.NationMaster.com 2012 Dec 24.
#4. http://www.onlinewomeninpolitics.org/suffr_chrono.htm which although this document is inconsistent in places, so is my source of last resort.
|7||Papua New Guinea||0.67|
|9||Central African Republic||0.67|
The UN HDR Report 2011 includes statistics on gender equality which take into account things like maternal mortality, access to political power (seats in parliament) and differences between male and female education rates. These are not factored into the HDI, therefore, countries get a separate range of points for this here.
Gender inequality is not a necessary part of early human development. Although a separation of roles is almost universal due to different strengths between the genders, this does not have to mean that women are subdued, and, such patriarchialism is not universal in ancient history. Those cultures and peoples who shed, or never developed, the idea that mankind ought to dominate womankind, are better cultures and peoples than those who, even today, cling violently to those mores.
|1||United Arab Emirates||-52|
|20||Antigua & Barbuda||-15|
|22||Papua New Guinea||-14|
|26||Trinidad & Tobago||-12|
The points awarded here take into account multiple factors: for how long fully equal same-sex marriage has been legal, for how long gay adoption has been possible, for how long civil unions have been possible (or any other similar domestic partnering functions that grant some equal rights to LGBT folk), whether or not the country has signed the UN's 2008 pro-LGBT document, positive points for gay sex not being illegal and negative points for its illegality, and, a point for there being effective anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBT folk.
Several of these factors are scaled by age; meaning, the longer ago the positive change was made, the higher the score is for that criteria. Some of the criteria are necessarily capped at a maximum score as some countries have never had anti-gay-sex laws, for example.
Where same-sex marriage (SSM) and civil unions (CU) are only legal in some states of the country, but not others, I multiply the SSM+CU points by the proportion of states that accept it. Therefore, the more states that accept it, the fuller proportion of proper score the country receives.
A point is awarded for having signed the UN 2008 document in support of LGBT non-harassment and equality, and, a negative point is awarded for signing the anti-LGBT-document championed by the Catholic Church and the Muslim world in 2008 December. Some countries signed the opposing document but have since switched; they now get 0.5 points.
The legality points are awarded negatively according to severity of punishments for being accused of having gay sex. There is -1 point for each year of imprisonment, -20 points for life imprisonment or corporal punishment, and, -50 points if homosexuality carries the death penalty. Many countries only have such laws against male homosexuality, but, where the laws are gender unequal, I've still assigned the worse possible points. In some cases I have reduced points if it is public knowledge that the country does not actually make its discriminatory laws effective. If gay sex is not illegal, then, points are awarded according to how long it has been legal, to a maximum of 10 points. Generally, from 1970 and further back, one point is awarded per decade.
In nearly every country, strong opposition to gay equality, gay rights, and anti-discrimination laws has been the Catholic Church or Muslim authorities (depending on the country). In some pluralist countries, both groups have joined forces to oppose LGBT-friendly human rights law. In the Netherlands "the only opposition in parliament came from the Christian Democratic Party, which at the time was not part of the governing coalition. [...] Muslim and conservative Christian groups continue to oppose the law" [PF 2013). In Spain "Vatican officials, as well as the Catholic Spanish Bishops Conference, strongly criticized the law". In Norway there was "resistance from members of the Christian Democratic Party and the Progress Party" [...] "Lutheran-affiliated Church of Norway, was split over the issue. Following passage of the new law, the church's leaders voted to prohibit its pastors from conducting same-sex weddings". In Argentina "vigorous opposition from the Catholic Church and evangelical Protestant churches".
Obnoxiousness is not the preserve of Christian and Muslim organisations however. In South Africa religious institutions and civil officers can refuse to conduct ceremonies and "the traditional monarch of the Zulu people, who account for about one-fifth of the country's population, maintains that homosexuality is morally wrong".
Scores are calculated according to indicators including pluralism - the degree to which opinions are represented in the media, media independence of authorities, self-censorship, legislation, transparency and the infrastructure that supports news and information, and, the level of violence against journalists which includes lengths of imprisonments. The index "does not take direct account of the kind of political system but it is clear that democracies provide better protection for the freedom to produce and circulate accurate news and information than countries where human rights are flouted."
"The same three European countries that headed the index last year hold the top three positions again this year. For the third year running, Finland has distinguished itself as the country that most respects media freedom. It is followed by the Netherlands and Norway. [At the bottom are the] same three as last year - Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea".
It must be noted that press freedom is not an indicator of press quality and the press itself can be abusive; the UK suffers in particular from a popular brand of nasty reporting that infuses several of its newspapers who are particularly prone to running destructive and often untrue campaigns against victims. The Press Freedom Index notes that "the index should in no way be taken as an indicator of the quality of the media in the countries concerned".
This is an important category as internet access allows access to varied sources of information outside of state influence, and access to the information age is a massive boost to personal liberty and personal potential. Scores are derived from these categories:
14 countries improved their stance on allowing access to the Internet uncensored by political or ideological bias, since last year. Bahrain, Pakistan, and Ethiopia saw the biggest increases in authoritarian behaviour. In many countries, imprisonment and violence against journalists and bloggers increased, and Pakistan's infamous blasphemy laws were increasingly enforced for online behaviour, reducing its ranking somewhat. "Only 4 of the 20 countries that recently experienced declines are considered electoral democracies. [...]"
"Regimes are covertly hiring armies of pro-government bloggers to tout the official point of view, discredit opposition activists, or disseminate false information about unfolding events [and] over the last year, it has been adopted in more than a quarter of the countries examined. The Bahraini authorities, for example, have employed hundreds of "trolls" whose responsibility is to scout popular domestic and international websites, and while posing as ordinary users, attack the credibility of those who post information that reflects poorly on the government."
Freedom House: "Freedom on the Net 2012" at www.freedomhouse.org/.../FOTN%202012%20-%20Tables%20and%20Charts%20FINAL.pdf and www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-net-2012/evolving-tactics-internet-control-and-push-greater-freedom both accessed 2013 Feb 05.
This index measures to what extent countries produce spam and malware. Spam has threatened to destroy the world's email systems and has certainly cost the IT industry billions in mitigation. "Malware" is malicious software, and the index takes into account the number of servers based in country that are Botnet CnC machines (which are bad), and the numbers of servers that host malicious downloads, including some of those associated with the infamous Blackhole crimepak.
“Russia’s authorities have historically been quite lax toward cybercriminals.”
Kaspersky Labs (2012)
The index also includes measures of host-based virus-detection from removable devices such as USB drives. This measures the danger in running IT systems in those locations, and probably reflects badly on the society and governments level of understanding of IT security in general.
Being a source of spam or malware is gauged as being four times worse than the other factors considered, especially as detection and block actions from antivirus are a good thing and only indirectly give away the fact that the IT security of the local environment is bad.
The data comes from a range of IT security companies including AVG, Kaspersky, McAfee and Sophos, covering 2010, 2011 and 2012 reports. In total, 17 reports' data were accumulated for this index, in all cases listing the worst offenders. In all this data only 83 unique countries appeared. All countries not on these lists have been given full points on account of no news being good news!
The upside to this IT Security index is that countries that are host to malware score lowly, bringing down their average scores. The downside to this negative index is that over 100 countries scored top points and many of these are not countries that have excellent IT security, but merely are countries that do not have much IT infrastructure. Hopefully a positive measure of IT security will resolve this in the future.
Countries are only listed here if they appear in over 5 data sets otherwise their score could be inaccurate.
|--- The Best ---|
|48||St Vincent & the Grenadines||70.7|
|56||Bosnia & Herzegovina||68.1|
|81||Trinidad & Tobago||63.1|
|84||Antigua & Barbuda||62.6|
|98||Timor-Leste (East Timor)||60.3|
|107||United Arab Emirates||58.9|
|136||Sao Tome & Principe||52.5|
|144||Papua New Guinea||49.2|
|178||Central African Republic||40.4|
Results charts have the best 5 countries marked with a green number, and the worst 5 marked with a red one. If there is a tie, then, the markers extend for as long as the tie continues. Sometimes the actual points are calculated to many significant figures, but, the results are only shown for 3 s.f. and in these cases, it might look like the flags do not extend enough. To view the data in more detail hover over any row to view in more detail what the actual points awarded were.
I have considered giving the UN HDR's rankings double the importance (allowing countries to score 0-200 for this data, instead of 0-100), as it includes multiple factors. However, it is not primarily concerned with morality, and one if its 3 criteria spreads is purely financial. It includes schooling years, but, I intent on also including a more potent statistic on that topic, measuring more than just school-age achievements.
For old stats, view the archived page: "Which Countries Set the Best Examples? (Archived page from 2005-2007)" by Vexen Crabtree (2005).
|The Best Countries 2005-2007||Q|
|#1 Sweden||1683 points||x20|
|#2 Denmark||1598 points||x20|
|#3 Netherlands||1572 points||x20|
|#4 Finland||1514 points||x20|
|#5 Germany||1422 points||x21|
|#6 UK||1407 points||x21|
|#7 Canada||1373 points||x19|
|#8 Switzerland||1326 points||x18|
|#9 Norway||1320 points||x17|
|#10 Belgium||1208 points||x19|
|% Population Obese|
Finland may be more obese than France or Poland, the statistics are not clear. Statistics are only generally available and sensible for developed countries. After these countries come, in turn: Iceland, Spain, Estonia, Austria, Ireland, Latvia, Czech, Canada, Lithuania, Australia, Luxembourg and Hungary. With a percentage of obesity of over 20% follow Portugal, Slovakia, Germany, UK, Mexico, Cyprus and Malta, with the USA breaking into the 30s. There are no statistics given for Australia (known to be surprisingly obese), and many other countries especially non European ones. Data is taken from the latest reports, 2000, 2001 or 2002.
The International Association for the Study of Obesity publishes reports into childhood obesity, the following chart was published in the British Medical Journal on their data on international overweight rates amongst 10-16 year old children.
The red portions highlight the numbers of children who are actually obese and not merely overweight. The dangers of childhood obesity are great, and their effects become a heavy burden on societal health and welfare spending. The numbers have continued to increase drastically since 2000/2001.
Countries that feature regularly on this page which have very low levels of childhood overweightness include the Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland, followed by Sweden, Germany and France.
Definition: Percentage of adults whose level of document literacy is rated 'high'. Data for 1998.
All developed countries that appear on the top of these comparisons have a very high literacy rate (99% or 100%), with the exception of the USA which has 97%. It is difficult to factor in immigrations effect on literacy statistics, so I haven't included such stats and would be wary doing so even if the results weren't so close! As a result, I have had to use the data for high literacy.
The Guardian (2005)12.
The top ten countries ranked by free open access to research archives relative to population.
Open Access speeds up the worldwide application of scientific research and allows theories and results to be tested, checked and analysed to scientists across the world, leading to more reliable science, data, technology for everyone.
Obviously quite a difficult piece of data to get meaningful results from. Absolute immigration level isn't useful as it is beyond most countries control where asylum seekers try to get, or end up at. The acceptance rate is going to be affected by tolerance and politics mostly, but also by the level of checks done and by what countries the recipient country considers to be areas of emergency, political instability or danger from which asylum seekers may need to escape from. I wanted to also look at refugee stats, but they are largely the same so just the one set of data will suffice. Sweden, in fourth place, is "a common destination for refugees and asylum seekers - over 10% of its population are immigrants."10, but, has had few problems with integration even though 30 years ago it was mostly homogenous10, with few outsiders.
I refer here to two main reports, as they are referenced on the full page linked in the box on the right:
The CGD report's analysis overlaps with the UNs, so I have not used them side-by-side (for example, both compare countries aid as a relation of their economy), I have used the UN report for 2005, and the CGD report for 2006.
“The chart on the right shows the amount of aid given to developing countries. It is shown as percent of the Gross National Income, so it includes both aid given by corporations and by individuals. The Report notes how the countries of the G7 - the richest industrial countries - dominate the global aid flow. It also notes how the most generous five countries, all above the UNs target of 0.7% GNI, are all small countries - Norway, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands who have all "consistently met or surpassed the UN target". Japan has only recently fallen to such a low position (third from the bottom), nearly as stingy as the USA.
The United Nations Report analyses how to make aid-giving worthwhile and usable and does not just concentrate on quantity of aid. There are factors which reduce the usability of aid, including corruption and unpredictability of aid quantities. Yet, "perhaps the most egregious undermining of efficient aid is the practice of tying financial transfers to the purchase of services and goods from the donating countries." This kind of "tied" aid is selfish and counterproductive.
The most generous countries are also the ones that do not tend to tie aid to their own products and services. The stingiest countries also, almost spitefully and nastily, force countries to buy their own services and products with the aid they give; which reduces free trade and commerce and harms the countries economy, as well as being simply selfish and conceited. Thankfully, many countries do not tie their aid. Countries that tie less than 10% of aid include Ireland, Norway and the UK, then Belgium, Finland, Switzerland and Sweden. The USA is the worst, and ties nearly 90% of its aid to developing countries. Italy is the second worst with 70%. The two worst countries for this obnoxious practice in aid-giving are also the two countries out of the most developed countries, who give least generously!
The Center for Global Development compared the 21 richest nations, measuring a broad range of factors and policies to arrive at their values. "The CGD's measures a broad number of factors for the index, rather than merely the amount of aid countries provide. It also examines several policy areas - such as trade investment migration and environment - while aid is measured not only in terms of quantity but as a share of its income and the quality of aid given ".
The index penalized countries for selling arms to undemocratic governments (the theory being that these harm 'the poor'). The CGD came to same conclusions as the United Nations' Human Development Report on US aid being 'tied' to US commercial goods.”
“Since it was first launched in 2001, the Global Information Technology Report has become a valuable and unique benchmarking tool to determine national ICT strengths and weaknesses, and to evaluate progress. It also highlights the continuing importance of ICT application and development for economic growth.
The Report uses the Networked Readiness Index (NRI), covering a total of 115 economies in 2005-2006, to measure the degree of preparation of a nation or community to participate in and benefit from ICT developments.”
Source: World Economic Forum Global Information Technology Report (2005-6)Q:122
The percent of software that is pirated.
“According to the Business Software Alliance, a trade association, and IDC, a market-research firm. 97 countries were investigated.”
The Economist, 2006 Jun 10, p114
The worst countries were Vietnam and Zimbabwe who both had software piracy rates of an astounding 90%.
Official statistics tend to distort the real numbers of religious adherents, so the Pew Research Center conducted a survey of 44 countries to find out what percentage considered their religion to be important.
This data supports 'Secularisation Theory': That the more developed countries are less religious. In other words: Religion declines as society advances. As such, points were awarded for lack of religion. The USA is the only developed OECD country to appear above 50%.
I would expect Chinese religion to be on a part with Russian (due to the historical role of Communism in suppressing religion in both countries). The Nordic states would probably appear with 20-30% religiosity.
The Best Country in the World! Listed as the 6th best country in the United Nations Human Development Report 2005. Sweden in 1919 was part of the general European rush towards female emancipation, although it was not a world leader in equal votes for women it was still one of the first 10% of the world to arrive there. In modern times, Sweden has the best record for gender equality across a range of issues. It has the worlds' sixth highest life expectancy. The Economist Quality of Life study states that Sweden is the fifth best place to live. From 2001 to the 2003-2004 and 2006 reports, the World Economic Forum has shown Sweden is consistently the third most economically competitive country. Its government was the first, in 1987, to recognize same sex partnerships. One of the least obese countries (10.4% of the population, perhaps 8th least obese in the developed world). Sweden has the best 'high literacy' rate in the world, and not just by a small margin! For a developed country, Swedes do not smoke much and do not drink much; both far less than Western averages. Sweden ranks top in allowing open access to scientific research. In 2005, out of the worlds' most developed countries, Sweden was fourth most generous in giving aid to developing countries, and in 2006 was the 3rd best country for the poor. It has the 7th lowest level of computer software piracy. Transparency International finds Sweden to be the joint fourth for lack of corruption.
Only listed as 14th in the world by the United Nations Human Development Report, Denmark is nonetheless a consistent high-ranker in many of the moral issues examined on this page. The World Economic Forum lists Denmark as the 4th most equal country in terms of gender, and was beaten by only four other countries in the historical granting of equal votes to women. The Economist's World in 2005 survey had Denmark rank as the ninth best country for quality of life. The fourth most competitive economy. Gay rights were attained in the 1990s, beaten only by a handful of states. One of the least obese countries in the world. The 3rd best country in the world for high adult literacy. One of the best countries towards the environment; one of the best recyclers. Open Access to scientific research speeds up scientific discovery and advances humanity, Denmark is the 7th most open country in the world. When it comes to accepting asylum seekers, Denmark accepts more than anyone else (74%). It also gives aid third most generously, and does not tie its aid in to its own economy. The Center for Global Development says that Denmark is the second best country at helping the poor of the world. Denmark has the fifth lowest rate of computer software piracy. Transparency International rates Denmark as (jointly) the least corrupt country.
Impressively listed as the best country in the United Nations Human Development Report every year since 2001. The fourth country to allow women the same voting rights as men, in 1913 and coming in 2nd best in the world for gender equality overall. The 12th best life expectancy in the world. The third best country to live in for quality of life. One of the world's most economically competitive countries, coming in annually around 6th (2003-2004) and 12th (2006). It was the second country to officially recognize same-sex marriages, granting almost full legal equality for gay partnerships in 1993. Impressively Norway is the fourth least obese developed nation in the world, only 8.3% of the population are obese. Norway has the second highest high literacy level in the world, second only to Sweden. Norway gives a higher percentage of its National Income as foreign aid than does any other country, and was the 4th best country for the poor in 2006.
Listed as the 13th best country in the United Nations Human Development Report 2005. One of the first countries to give women equal votes with men, beaten only by New Zealand and Australia in 1893 and 1902 respectively. Judging by a range of criteria Finland is in modern times the fifth best country for gender equality. 19th best life expectancy. The most economically competitive country according to the 2001, 2003, and 2004-5 reports from the World Economic Forum (and 2nd place to Switzerland in 2006), with the USA as their hottest contender and previous title-holder. Finland was not one of the first countries where legal equality for homosexuals were attained, but in 2002 it is still ahead the majority of the countries in the world that have not yet got there. Perhaps one of the least obese countries, 10th or so in the developed world. Finland is the fourth best country in the world for high literacy. Open access to scientific research is beneficial to humanity; Finland is the sixth most open country in the world. The 7th best country for the world's poor, in 2006. It has the 4th lowest computer software piracy rate. Transparency International rates Denmark as (jointly) the least corrupt country.
Democracy: A Beginner's Guide (2005). Published by Oneworld Publications, Oxford, UK.
British Medical Journal. Tavistock Square, London, UK. http://www.bmj.com.
Sociology (1997). Hardback 3rd edition. First edition was 1989. Published by Polity Press in association with Blackwell Publishers Ltd. The Amazon link is to a newer version.
Future Agenda: The World In 2020 (2010). Published by Infinite Ideas.
United Nations Human Development Report (UNHDR)
Published annually in association with the UN Development Program. Downloadable PDF files can be found:
2005: hdr.undp.org/reports/global/2005/pdf/HDR05_complete.pdf (6MB). File accessed 2005 Sep 16.
2006: hdr.undp.org/hdr2006/pdfs/report/HDR06-complete.pdf (8MB). Accessed 2006 Nov 24.