bne:Chart – Belarus tops CIS in UN Human Development Index

By bne IntelliNews October 29, 2014

Henry Kirby in London -


Belarus has emerged from this year’s UN Human Development Index (HDI) as the highest-ranking nation in the Commonwealth of Independent States, sitting 53rd out of 187 countries.

Having climbed seven places in the last five years, Belarus now sits three places above Russia with an HDI score of 78.6, compared with Russia’s 77.9, as the bne:Chart shows. On the inequality-adjusted index, which factors in the distribution of development benefits across a country’s population, Belarus sits six places higher, at 47th in the world.

Nearly a decade ago, the then US national security advisor Condoleezza Rice described Belarus as one of six “outposts of tyranny,” alongside North Korea, Burma, Cuba, Iran and Zimbabwe. Now, the supposed last dictatorship of Europe outperforms most Central and Eastern Europe/Commonwealth of Independent States (CEE/CIS) and, for some measures, even Western Europe on the index.

Indeed, for enrollment in tertiary education, Belarus far surpasses both the world and Western Europe averages, with 91% of its school-age population entering higher education. Alongside Russia, it also outperforms the West for both youth and adult literacy rates, at 99.8% and 99.6%, respectively.

Its gender equality record also impresses in comparison with other CEE/CIS nations. At 29.5%, its share of parliamentary seats held by women is just 1% lower than the average for Western Europe, nearly 10% higher than the CEE/CIS average, and more than double the Russian figure.

Despite these positives, Belarusians’ perceptions of wellbeing were consistently lower than the CEE/CIS average in the Gallup World Poll across a number of measures. These included education, healthcare and employment, although they registered overall life satisfaction figures that were higher than the world average, CEE/CIS average and Russia figures.

Overall measures:

Gallup World Poll: Perceptions of well-being:

Gallup World Poll: Perceptions about government: Embed:

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