Not all countries have favorable living conditions. Generally speaking, humans want to live in countries with developed economies, job opportunities, robust health care systems, education, and national security. These are general traits of a developed country.
To determine which countries are “developed countries,” the Human Development Index (HDI) was developed by the United Nations. The Human Development Index is quantified by looking at a country’s human development factors such as life expectancy, per capita income, and education. HDI is scaled from zero to 1.0, with most developed nations having a .80 or above score. The Human Development Index is divided into four tiers: low human development (0-.55), medium human development (.55-.70), high human development (.70-80), and very high human development (.80-1.0).
There are currently 59 countries in the “very high human development” group. Countries with very high human development have widespread education, healthcare, strong economies, long life expectancy, and stable governments. These are considered the most livable countries globally and include Norway, Australia, Canada, and the United States. Very high human development countries are also known as developed countries.
Countries in the “high human development” tier have HDI scores between .70 and .80. These countries have similar characteristics of “very high human development,” but often have per capita income or life expectancy that doesn’t quite make the threshold. These countries are either developing or developed countries. These countries include Mexico, Iran, Turkey, and Costa Rica.
“Medium human development” countries have HDI scores between .55 and .70, and “low human development” countries have scores below .55. These countries tend to have underdeveloped economies that lead to widespread poverty, poor education or lack of education, and lower life expectancies. “Medium human development” countries are also known as “developing countries” or “undeveloped countries,” while “low human development” countries are [“least developed countries”]((/country-rankings/least-developed-countries). LDCs have exclusive access to international support measures such as trade, development cooperation, and participation in international processes and the United Nations. LDCs are given this access to help them grow and stabilize to boost themselves out of the category.
While these least developed countries are given resources and aid to help them develop, they are still experiencing unstable governments, poor economies, disease, conflict, and other widespread issues that place them among the worst countries to live in.
Based on HDI, Niger is the worst country to live in. Niger is a Sub-Saharan country with a population of 22.4 million people. Niger’s HDI is .354, with 44.1% of people living below the poverty line, facing malnutrition and the highest birth rate in the world of 7.4. Niger is also plagued by conflict, especially around its borders where armed groups have established bases and repeatedly attack Niger’s civilians and security forces.
The other four countries experience similar problems such as poverty, poor health, lack of education, child labor, and more. The Central African Republic is currently in the middle of a Civil War, which started in 2012, making the country unsafe to travel to, let alone live in. South Sudan and Burundi are also facing widespread conflict.