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Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016

U.S. finishes 12th on 'most desirable' list

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Every year, the United Nations publishes a list of the "most desirable" places to live. And this year, Iceland topped Norway for the top spot. Norway had headed the list for the past six years. The United States? A solid 12th place, down from 8th on the list last year.

I hold the United Nations in very low regard, and I can take great issue with the way this "list" is compiled. But who really cares? The list used life expectancy, education and real per capita income to make their selections. Rounding out the top five most desirable behind Iceland and Norway were Australia, Canada and Ireland. At the bottom of the list? Every single country is sub-Saharan Africa with Sierra Leone taking the "honors" as being the worst place to call home.

What did surprise me somewhat about the livability list was that the United States was downgraded because of life expectancy. The USA was tied for 26th place on the list with a life expectancy of 77.9 years. Japan took top honors with a life expectancy of 82.3 years. Zambians, on the other hand, can expect to live to age 40.5.

I would have thought the United States would reign supreme in the income category but we are only second in the world with a real per capita gross domestic product of $41,890. The real money's in Luxembourg with an average of $60,228.

Okay, so there you have it. Another learned study that gives us a snapshot of the world in which we live. Take it for what it's worth.

Maybe Iceland deserves the top spot. No gang bangers, peace and quiet, long lifespan and pretty good educational levels. And ice! Lots and lots of it apparently, though Greenland has more ice and Iceland more green. Go figure!

As long as Americans call a fast food joint their favorite restaurant, 12th place is where we'll be. As long as some parents blame teachers and not themselves for their kids' lousy education, 12th place is where we'll be. And the money may be in Luxembourg but I can't seem to find it on the map.

So I'll settle for 12th place. I also might suggest that the United Nations spend more of their money on helping the starving children in Africa and less on studies. That might be a good starting point.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen