Canada leads by example as Britain sees more poverty

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The Independent Online
Canada is the most advanced country in the world, according to the latest version of the UN Development Programme's Human Development Index. At the other end of the scale, coup-wracked Sierra Leone is the most wretched.

Average life expectancy in Canada is 79 years, 99 per cent of adults can read and write and Real Gross Domesetic Product per person is $21,459. Sierra Leone's corresponding figures are 34 years, 30 per cent and $643.

The index ranks the well-being of citizens by combining average life expectancy, adult literacy and income - adjusted for purchasing power parity - for each of 175 nations.

Canada is followed by France, Norway, the US and Iceland; Japan has fallen to seventh place - compared with third in last year's index. Britain comes in 15th, a small improvement on its 16th place last year, but still with eight other EU member states above it - including Spain. Poverty in Britain rose by more than half under the Tories, between 1979 and 1991, to 14.6 per cent of the population, with a significantly higher percentage of poor among children and the elderly than other leading industrialised