Afghanistan has climbed over a dozen places up the annual UN Development Programme's (UNDP) Human Development Index (HDI) - from 181 out of 182 countries in 2009, to 155 out of 169 this year.
Described as a human development indicator, the HDI "measures the average achievements in a country in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living."
However, Afghanistan is still among the world's 23 Least Developed Countries, according to the UNDP report: About 42 percent of Afghans are living in poverty; life expectancy at birth is 44.6; there is one doctor and two hospital beds for every 5,000 Afghans. Under-five mortality is 275 per 1,000 live births, and the maternal mortality rate is 1,400 per 100,000 births. Over half of Afghans do not have access to safe drinking water; 63 percent lack access to improved sanitation.
Despite their numerous difficulties, over half of Afghans are satisfied with their living conditions, says the report. Meanwhile, Transparency International, a Berlin-based corruption watchdog, ranks Afghanistan the third most corrupt state in the world in 2010.
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This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions