Conditions Decline in Soviet Republics, Sub-Saharan Nations

Maggie Farley and Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times, Sept. 7

UNITED NATIONS—An annual U.N. report on development released today shows that living standards in the former Soviet Union and sub-Saharan Africa have been steadily declining while the rest of the world gets richer.

Norway tops the index that tries to assess nations’ economic development, dignity and quality of life, and Niger is at the bottom. The United States is ranked 10th.

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Twelve of the world’s 18 poorest countries are in sub-Saharan Africa, meaning one out of three people in that region live in a country that is worse off than it was in 1990, when the U.N. began to track the standard of living statistics.

The decline has been sparked mainly by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, causing South Africa to drop 35 places since 1990 and Botswana 21 places.

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