Canada 9th best country to live in: UN human development index

Canada has once again earned a high ranking of great places to live. Justin Tang / The Canadian Press

Canada has ranked ninth in the UN’s annual Human Development Index (HDI), out of nearly 200 countries.

The HDI measures health and life expectancy, access to education and standard of living.

READ MORE: Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary sit atop global ‘liveability’ rankings

Norway took top spot, with Canada and New Zealand rounding out the Top 10 in a tie for ninth:

  1. Norway
  2. Australia
  3. Switzerland
  4. Denmark
  5. Netherlands
  6. Germany
  7. Ireland
  8. United States
  9. Canada, tied with New Zealand

The categories are broken down and measure a huge swath of data, including maternal and infant mortality rate, female representation in government, public expenditure on education, research and development expenditure, and carbon dioxide emissions.

READ MORE: Rwanda ranks higher in gender equality than Canada: report

While they may not crack the Top 10 any time soon, there was good news for the world’s lesser-developed countries.

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The accompanying Human Development Report sheds light on great progress made over the last 25 years, with a reported two billion people able to move out of low human development, with extreme income poverty reduced by more than a billion. This was largely due to entire countries — such as Congo, Ghana and Namibia — moving up and out of the category.

“Every region of the world has seen Human Development Index (HDI) gains,” the report states.


The report delves into how work and employment shape human development. It examines the evolution of work, gender imbalances, sustainable work opportunities, and policy options, country by country.

“The point of departure for us is to take a broader notion of work, which goes beyond jobs,” said Selim Jahan, director of the UNDP Human Development Report office, and lead author of the report.

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The team looked at unpaid care work, creative work and voluntary work along with more traditional jobs data.

Jahan said the five main findings of the report are:

  • Work enhances human development;
  • The world of work is changing very fast, due to globalization and the digital revolution;
  • Gender balances are pronounced, with men dominating paid work and women largely engaged in unpaid work;
  • Sustainable work — which enhances human development while ensuring sustainability — is critical;
  • Strategic policy options are integral to human development.

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