The United Nations published its latest Human Development Index (HDI) rankings—using data from 2018—which is calculated based on three categories: Life expectancy, education, and per capita income. (Read the official announcement here.)
A country scores a higher HDI when its people live longer, have higher rates of education, and enjoy higher gross national income (GNI), adjusted for local purchasing power.
Norway and Switzerland are once again No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, while Ireland, Germany, and Hong Kong have risen to round up the top five. The U.S. ranks a respectable 15th.
However, note the second through fourth columns, which adjust the scores based on inequality. While countries may have an overall high rate of education, life expectancy, and income, how these benefits are shared among the general populace will vary.
Hence, Hong Kong would descend 17 places down if inequality were taken into account; the U.S. would drop by 13 points. Conversely, egalitarian Japan would climb 15 spots from 19th place, while the Czech Republic and Slovenia would also rise significantly.
Norway uniquely would remain in the same spot even if you adjust for inequality. Switzerland would drop just one point.