UN: Iceland Best Place to Live

Sub-Saharan Africa, it turns out, not so great
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 27, 2007 1:21 PM CST
Hundreds of people buy supplies of rice, sugar, corn, salt, soap, powdered milk and soft drinks from crisis-hit Zimbabwe's eastern neighbor, Mozambique, at Sakubva market in Mutare, Zimbabwe, Thursday,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Iceland has inched out longtime champ Norway as the best place in the world to live, and sub-Saharan Africa is the worst. The UN list, out today, ranks countries by real per-capita GDP, education, and life expectancy. The US ranked 12th, down from 8th last year, as relatively low life expectancy offset the world’s second-highest per-capita GDP, Reuters reports.

UN officials downplayed small shifts, like the US drop, because some data is imperfect. The bottom 22 countries are all in sub-Saharan Africa, where AIDS has ravaged life expectancy. In 10 of those nations, two in five die before reaching age 40. In bottom-ranked Sierra Leone, per-capita GDP is 45 times lower than in Iceland.