Based on the HDI scale running from zero to 1.0 and taking into account life expectancy, GDP per capita and literacy rates recorded in 2007, the UN agency’s annual report this year ranks 182 countries in the world compared to 179 last year.

According the report, although Vietnam has fallen one place from 115 in 2006, its HDI has increased from 0.720 to 0.725 and achieved an annual growth rate of 0.71 from 2000 to 2007.

The country’s GDP per capita was US$2,600 in 2007, while 90.3 percent of its populations aged above 15 are literate and life expectancy was 74.3 years, the report said.

Other countries in the Southeast Asian region like Thailand, the Philippines, and Cambodia – ranked 87th, 105th, and 137th respectively – are also listed under the category of medium human development together with Vietnam and China (92nd).

Malaysia, meanwhile, is ranked 66th and named together with countries like Romania, Chile, and Cuba as having a high degree human development.

With a score of 0.971, Norway tops the list, followed by Australia and Iceland.

Ranked 23rd, Singapore is listed under the category of countries with very high human development with US and Japan.

Afghanistan and Niger, meanwhile, languish at the bottom of the list.

By Thuy Mien - Thanh Nien News - October 7, 2009