The annual report takes into account factors including life expectancy at birth, expected years of schooling, mean total years of schooling, and gross national income per capita.
A product of these factors is used to calculate a country’s Human Development Index (HDI).
Norway’s overall score on the index was 0.954, moving it from number 5 on the 2018 index to number 1 in 2019.
The Nordic nation was also ranked first in 2017.
Switzerland, Ireland, Germany and Hong Kong (SAR) took the remaining top five places on the index. Nordic neighbours Sweden and Denmark were placed 8th and 11th respectively.
The report also finds that Norway’s HDI score has grown consistently in the long term, with a 0.41 percent increase in the index since 1990 and a 0.16 percent increase since 2010.
But the increase for the current decade was smaller as a function than that for the 2000s, when the HDI grew by 0.27 percent.
Norway was also found to have low inequality. The country retained its placed as the highest-ranked nation in the UN development index after each nation’s HDI score was adjusted for inequality.
“In Norway, Spain, France and Croatia… the bottom 40 percent (of earners) saw their incomes grow at a rate similar to that of the average income,” the report notes.
However, in Norway and France, “the top 1 percent of incomes grew more than the average, meaning that the income share of the groups in between was squeezed,” it added.
The country ranked top of the index for gender development, meanwhile, despite a notable difference in estimated gross national income per capita for men and women.
The HDI for Norway, classified by gender, was 0.946 for women and 0.955 for men.
“While Norway is pleased to top the list, the countries that are at the top must do more to help those at the bottom,” Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein told news agency NTB.
“For the first time in world history, we have a real opportunity to eradicate all extreme poverty in the world. But after a long period of progress, we now see that the arrows are pointing downwards for many of the poorest countries. Right now. we are not on track to achieve the sustainability goals by 2030. The clock is ticking,” the minister added.
Those views appear to be supported by the overall conclusions of the report, which state that “two children born in 2000 in countries with different levels of human development will have vastly different prospects for adult life”.
“The wave of demonstrations sweeping across countries is a clear sign that, for all our progress, something in our globalized society is not working,” United Nations Development Programme administrator Achim Steiner said via the UNDP website.