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UN report: Finland 24th in HDI list despite EU rebuke

The United Nations Development Programme today released a global press release, which ranks world countries according to the Human Development Index (HDI). According to the report, Finland is second only to Norway in equality, despite having been referred to the European Court of Justice on equality issues just two weeks ago.

Titled Sustaining Human progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience, the UNDP report lists 187 countries in order of development, according to the HDI standard.

Finland ranked at number 24 overall, but another statistic found in the account calculates equality; after Norway, Finland was in second place, despite being referred to the European Court of Justice over racial equality failings in early July.

For the first time, the UNDP report took gender equality into account when calculating the rankings. Finland was one of 16 countries where the HDI value for women was equal or higher than that of men. Both education differences and life expectancy estimates affected the results, the report stated.

At the same time, differences in income were substantial between the two sexes: men worldwide still earn double what women do.

Gaps between rich and poor countries still vast

According to the Development Programme report, curbing the HDI gaps between countries has actually slowed down during 2008–2013. Even positive development has been distributed unequally between different countries.

Not only that, but the report finds that the differences between rich and poor countries are still enormous, with life expectancy for Norwegian children, for instance, at 30 years higher than a child in Congo.

The top five countries on the UNDP’s HDI list – as before – were Norway, Australia, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United States. The worst-off were all on the African continent: Niger, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, Chad and Sierra Leone.

The list identifies 187 countries in total. The placings are calculated based on official information on health, education and income.

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