Chile, Argentina and Uruguay have the highest standards of living in Latin America according the latest report from the United Nations Human Development Index (HDI).
Worldwide out of 187 countries Chile ranks 44, Argentina, 45 and Uruguay 48. The HDI is calculated from a set of indicators including literacy rates, years of schooling, life expectancy and per capita income.
On a scale from zero to one Uruguay’s HDI was 0.783 this year which means it has sustainedly advanced in the last few decades improving the quality of life of its people, which now stands above the Latin America and Caribbean average (0.731) and above the world average, 0.682.
The HDI was developed by the United Nations Development Program in 1990 as an alternative to the classification of countries progress only based on the level of GDP and encloses ‘the creation of an environment in which an individual can develop his maximum potential and advance with a productive and creative life in accordance with his necessities and interests’.
This means for example that even when Uruguay has a per capita income of 13.242 dollars, similar to Botswana (13.049 dollars), HDI is higher than the African nation, 0.633. Similarly Bahamas with a higher per capita income, 23.029, has an HDI similar to Uruguay’s, 0.764.
The global ranking is led by Norway, followed closely by Australia, Holland, the United States, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Germany and Sweden. This year’s index included 187 countries, 18 more than in 2010.
In specific items such as access to health services Uruguay ranks with 0.899 which is higher than countries belonging to higher HDI such as Arab Emirates, 0.892; Hungary, 0.858; Poland, 0.885 and Argentina, 0.882.
Regarding education Uruguay’s performance is poor: 0.763, below its average HDI, but is in the range of those countries with a very high HDI such as Singapore, 0.751 and Portugal, 0.739.