No palm trees, but Iceland rates as best place to live

Norway's monopoly of the top spot in the UN's Human Development Index has ended after six years, with Iceland assuming the status as the new most desirable country in which to live. Obviously, a balmy climate is not one of the criteria, although Iceland's weather is mild for its latitude because of warming Atlantic Ocean currents. The index factors in educational levels, standard of living, and life expectancy. Most of the data supplied by 175 countries, plus Hong Kong and the Palestinian territories, are drawn from 2005. Iceland moved up from second place a year ago on the basis of its rising gross domestic product and life-expectancy figures (the US fell from 8th to 12th). The best countries, according to the index:

  • 1. Iceland
  • 2. Norway
  • 3. Australia
  • 4. Canada
  • 5. Ireland
  • 6. Sweden
  • 7. Switzerland
  • 8. Japan
  • 9. Netherlands
  • 10. France


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