Bulgaria Fell Out of the Group of the Most Developed Countries in the World

Society | September 8, 2022, Thursday // 15:43|  views

Sofia, Bulgaria @Pixabay

Bulgaria fell out of the group of the most developed countries in the world according to the UN Human Development Index published on Thursday.

Dropping four places, Bulgaria has already been overtaken by countries such as Serbia, Montenegro and Georgia and is the only EU country not to find a place among the most developed countries in the world.

The United Nations Human Development Index, which has been tracked since 1990 to measure other characteristics of well-being besides economic growth, takes into account factors such as life expectancy, access to education and personal income as a measure of quality of life.

According to this year's ranking, which presents the situation in 2021, Bulgaria is in 68th place in the world and second in the group of "highly developed countries", which is led by Albania. Bulgaria overtakes Grenada, Barbados and Antigua in it and is in the same company as Ukraine (77), North Macedonia (78), China (79), Brazil (89) and others.

The data that the UN reports in the ranking for Bulgaria are life expectancy at birth - 71.8 years, 13.8 years spent on average in education, and an average personal income of $23,071 per year.

For comparison - Switzerland, which this year overtakes Norway and is first in the Human Development Index, has a life expectancy of 84 years, the time spent in education is 16.5 years on average, and the average income - 66 thousand dollars.

At the other end of the scale is South Sudan, where life expectancy is 55 years, people spend an average of only 5.5 years in school and earn $768 a year.

Compared to the countries it is surrounded by, Bulgaria has a much higher annual income per capita (Albania has $14,131), but life expectancy and time spent in school and university drag it down.

Romania, with which Bulgaria is compared in previous rankings, is now 15 places ahead, occupying 53rd place in the ranking with 74.2 years of average life expectancy, 14.2 years of schooling and a personal income of $30,027 per year. Romania is the last in terms of development among the EU countries, overtaken by Slovakia (45) and Hungary (46).

In addition to Switzerland, Norway (first in 2020) and Iceland are also at the top of the Human Development Index, and there are five more European countries in the top ten - Denmark (6), Sweden (7), Ireland (8), Germany (9) ) and the Netherlands (10).

The three least developed countries in the world are Nigeria, Chad and South Sudan.

Among Bulgaria's neighbors, the welfare of the Greeks, who are 33rd in the world with a life expectancy of 80.1 years, time spent on education - 20 years, and an average annual income of $29,002, is the highest rated. Turkey is in 48th place, Romania in 53rd place, Serbia in 63rd place and the only one overtaken by Bulgaria - North Macedonia - is 10 places behind - in 78th place.

Crises take the world back

The pandemic and the various crises humanity has faced in recent years have erased decades of progress in terms of life expectancy, education and economic prosperity, the UN report said.

The study reports that in nine out of ten countries the quality of life has declined according to the United Nations Human Development Index.

The UN points to the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the impact of climate change as the main reasons for the slowdown and reversal of human development.

Failures in most of the 191 countries included in the index, particularly in terms of life expectancy, have returned development levels to those seen in 2016, reversing a 30-year trend of progress, the UN experts concluded. In the US, for example, life expectancy fell by more than two years compared to 2019.

In the years since the index was introduced, many countries have faced crises and slipped back, but the global trend has been steadily moving upwards. Last year was the first time the index declined overall, and this year's results reinforced that downward trend.

However, the impact is uneven. Two-thirds of rich countries managed to recover last year, while most others continued to decline, writes the BBC.

This year's index is based on data from 2021. "But the outlook for 2022 is bleak," said Achim Steiner, one of its authors, who pointed out that more than 80 countries face problems repaying their national debt.

"We are seeing profound disruptions that will play out in a few years," he told the BBC.

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