Armenia remained ahead of three of its four neighbors in the United Nations’ latest index of people’s well-being around the world.
The Human Development Index (HDI), based on 2007 data, rated 182 countries in terms of their Gross Domestic Product per capita, life expectancy, access to healthcare and education standards. Armenia occupies 84th place in the rankings topped by Norway Australia and Iceland, a slight improvement over the UN’s previous Human Development Report issued two years ago.
“This improvement is largely due to the increase in GDP per capita,” Consuelo Vidal, head of the UN office in Yerevan, said, presenting the 2009 report. “Between 1990 and 2007 Armenia’s HDI rose by 0.51 percent annually.”
Vidal noted that Armenia holds the first place in the report’s “Medium Human Development” category and is followed by Ukraine and Azerbaijan. Iran and Georgia are in 88th and 89th places respectively. Armenia’s fourth neighbor, Turkey, is 79th in the rankings.
Armenia’s GDP per capita more than quadrupled, in nominal dollar terms, to roughly $4,300 between 2002 and 2008 on the back of double-digit economic growth that significantly reduced the official poverty rate. The International Monetary Fund expects the figure to tumble to $3,000 this year because of the ongoing economic recession and the resulting depreciation of the national currency, the dram.
For its part, the World Bank predicted earlier this year that the recession will increase the proportion of Armenians living below the official poverty line will from 22 percent to at least 26 percent by 2010.