LivingSpain, the fifth best place to live in the...

Spain, the fifth best place to live in the world, according to a new study.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) created the Human Development Index (HDI) in 1990, which each year provides a diagnosis of the state of the world , country by country, beyond mere economic data. In order to prepare the ranking, in addition to per capita income, parameters related to health or education are taken into account.



The last HDI was published in September 2018, and in it Spain obtained a score of 0.891 out of a maximum of 1, which placed us in a 26th place in the world, remarkable although far from the elite. The country where the highest levels of human development are reached would be, today, Norway , –0.953 points–, followed by Switzerland, Australia, Ireland and Germany.

Normally, the media give wide coverage and credibility to this UN meter, but a study published in the specialized journal Population and Development Review finds fault with it and proposes a more simplified and, supposedly, truthful alternative: the Life Indicator. Human (HLI) .


Only score longevity

The HLI is made with only life expectancy at birth in mind, although the researchers then adjust the index for the complexity hidden by this simple demographic parameter. In other words, countries where there are a significant number of long-lived people –with more economic resources– but also people who die young –generally poor– score worse than those with the same average life expectancy where the age of death is more balanced . Thus, the criterion of social equality or inequality would be reflected.

As indicated by Simone Ghislandi, associate professor in the Department of Social and Political Sciences at Bocconi University (Milan) and one of the authors of the work, they have chosen life expectancy because it is the most reliable parameter used to elaborate the HDI of the ONU.

In addition, in the opinion of Ghislandi and his colleagues, life is not worth the same depending on the country where it is measured, since the HDI allows different combinations of average longevity and per capita income to calculate the scores.

So what would the human development list look like if we applied the HLI instead of the traditional HDI? Well, the picture is radically different. One of the most striking changes is precisely that suffered by Spain, which goes from the aforementioned 26th place in the HDI to 5th in the HLI . And the opposite happens to Germany, which falls to the 25th position, when it was the fifth most developed nation in the world according to the UN. Other spectacular jumps are those of Japan (from 19th to 2nd) and Italy (from 28th to 6th).

This would be the ranking with the first 10 positions according to the HLI (in parentheses, the country that occupies that position in the HDI):


1. Hong Kong (Norway).

2. Japan (Switzerland).

3. Islandi a (Australia).

4. Singapore (Ireland).

5. Spain (Germany).

6. Italy (Iceland).

7. Switzerland (Hong Kong).

8. Sweden (Sweden).

9. Norway (Singapore).

10. Australia (Holland).


Más información: Simone Ghislandi, Warren Sanderson y Sergei Scherbov. “A Simple Measure of Human Development: The Human Life Indicator”. Population and Development Review. 6 de noviembre de 2018. DOI:10.1111/padr.12205.




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