New Zealand in UN's top 20
4:00AM Sunday Oct 11, 2009
By Kieran Nash

New Zealand has the world's 20th-best record in human development, according to a major international survey.

The United Nations study ranks 182 countries by social as well as economic wealth and puts us ahead of economic powerhouses such as the UK, Germany and China.

Norway topped the list, with Australia second and Iceland third. Lowest ranked was African nation Niger.

The index is part of the annual Human Development Report released by the UN Development Programme, the part of the organisation headed by Helen Clark.

It measures countries' development by combining indicators of life expectancy, educational achievement and income.

New Zealand ranked high in life expectancy (11th), literacy (more than 99 per cent) and had the second-highest number of residents who had completed primary, secondary and tertiary education.

But we slipped down the list of GDP per capita, with the US$27,336 ($37,000) figure the lowest of the top 20.

More here.