UNITED NATIONS — People around the globe are healthier, richer, and better educated than ever, with most developing countries registering huge gains over the past 40 years, a UN report released yesterday shows.
Asia progressed fastest in terms of human development since 1970, with China and Indonesia leading the way. Some Arab countries, especially Oman, and many Latin American nations showed marked progress as well, it said.
In its annual report on the quality of life worldwide, the United Nations Development Program said such strides often go unnoticed because development traditionally has been measured only by income. Its study also looked at education and health.
“Growth alone doesn’t always lead to human development,’’ said Jeni Klugman, the report’s lead author.
Among the 169 nations surveyed, Norway came in first on the annual Human Development Index, and Zimbabwe was listed last. The United States was fourth.
Program Administrator Helen Clark noted in the report’s introduction that countries can do much to improve the quality of people’s lives, even when economic growth is modest.
“It is now universally accepted that a country’s success or an individual’s well-being cannot be evaluated by money alone,’’ Clark wrote.