Armenia has moved ahead of three of its four neighbors in the United Nations’ latest index of people’s welfare around the world.
The UN’s 2011 Human Development Report (HDR) released this week rated 187 countries in terms of their Gross Domestic Product per capita, life expectancy, access to healthcare and education standards.
Armenia occupies 86th place on the list topped by Norway, Australia and The Netherlands and retains what UN researchers consider a high degree of “human development.” It was 76th in last year’s UN rankings that covered 169 countries, trailing neighboring Georgia, Azerbaijan and Iran.
Iran and Azerbaijan fell slightly behind Armenia in the 2011 HDR, ranking 88th and 91st respectively. Armenia’s fourth neighbor, Turkey is in 92nd place. Only Georgia (75th) remains ahead of it in the human development index.
According to the UN report, life expectancy in Armenia currently stands at 74.2 years while the per-capita average income, adjusted for purchasing power parity, at almost $5,200.
Gevorg Poghosian, a senior sociologist at the Armenian National Academy of Sciences, described the country’s performance in the global survey as satisfactory. But he cautioned that much of that results from its past demographic and social achievements mostly dating back to the Soviet era.
“We have long had a high level of education and a long-living population,” Poghosian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “This is the inertia of the past.”
“As for the present, we have the lowest [human development] indicators there,” he said.
“In any case, we are not in a bad situation compared with many other countries. But we shouldn’t be very encouraged by that because the trend is not positive,” warned Poghosian.