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When it comes to the quality of life these days, Germany has abundant competition. The United Nations Development Program announced Monday (July 15) that Canada tops its Human Development Index for 1996. Germany placed 18th in the ranking of 174 countries, just behind Great Britain and Denmark and just ahead of Ireland, Italy and Greece. The Human Development Index takes account of real income, life expectancy and average education level, as well as factors such as health care, sanitation and the treatment o f women. As its compilers explain, the index is intended to measure “three fundamental dimensions” of development, namely “a long and healthy life, knowledge and an adequate standard of living.”
Immediately following Canada at the top of the index were the United States, Japan, the Netherlands and Norway. The top 57 countries are categorized by the index's compilers as highly developed. The Czech Republic led all eastern European countries at 37th place. The large group of countries credited with average levels of development included Libya (59), Saudi Arabia (63), Cuba (79), South Africa (100) and China (108). Less developed countries ranged from Cameroon (127) to Somalia, Sierra Leone and Niger in the final three places.
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