Australia Ranked Second Best Country in the World by the U.N.

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By Marbelyn Alar | November 4, 2011 12:09 PM EST

Australia has been pronounced the second best country to live in, next to Norway.  

The United Nations human development index, revealed that Norway got a 0.94 score as the greatest place to live in, while Australia received a score of 0.93. The scale was 0 to 1, with 1 being the highest possible score.

The statistics also revealed the Democratic Republic of the Congo at the bottom of the list of 187 nations, with a score of 0.29. According to the United Nations, the average length of schooling in the Congo is 3.5 years. People in the country have a life expectancy of 49 years of age.

The factors considered in the human development index in determining the best place on earth include life expectancy, national income per capita, and years of schooling, said a Sydney Morning Herald report. Australia also placed second in the life expectancy factor, with a life expectancy of 82 years. Japan was number one, with life expectancy of 83 years.

With an income of $47,600 per head, Norway topped Australia, which has an income of $34,400 per head. The Sydney Morning Herald remarked that if it were not for the income measure, Australia would be considered the most developed country in the world. Australia received top rating for the United Nation's measure of ''non-income human development."

Although many of the countries made higher income figures than Norway, these were seen as poor models of development for what these lacked in several measures. As an example, Qatar's income is $107,700 per head, but has a "stay in school" average of seven years. Singaporeans earn $52,600 per head, but stay only 10 years in school. The Unites States has low life expectancy, while Great Britain has an average stay in school figure of nine years.

Satisfied Australians

The human development index also reports that Australians are among the most satisfied people on earth. From a "satisfaction with life" scale of 0 to 10, Australians answer 7.5 on average. People living in Canada, Denmark and Norway are the most satisfied, and those in the U.S. and Great Britain are "more miserable," with scores of 7.2 and 7.0.

"Typically, though, happiness does follow income," said the Sydney Morning Herald. The low-income nations of Burundi, Haiti and the Congo each have a satisfaction score of 3.8.

Australians are "not particularly equal society," adds the report. Aside from unequal income distribution, the country is also found wanting when it comes to equality of the sexes. According to the Index, Australia ranks 18th on gender equality, while Sweden ranks first.

The factors identified as the reasons for Australia's low gender rating include a relatively high teenage fertility rate (16 in every 1000 female teenagers give birth, a rate that is higher than most European countries, but less than the U.S.). Another factor is unsatisfactory position of women in the Parliament (28 percent of the seats in Parliament are occupied by women. According to the United Nations, this is a lot less that Norway (40 percent) and New Zealand (34 percent).

The United Nation states that the world's worst places to live in are in Africa, with the bottom five countries being Chad, Mozambique, Burundi, Niger, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Being on the second place among 187 nations means that Australians have a lot to be grateful about. The other countries occupying the top 5 with Australia are: (1)Norway, (3) the Netherlands, (4) the US and (5) New Zealand.

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