Least Livable Countries

Updated April 15, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

According to the UN's Human Development Index

The Human Development Index (HDI), published by the UN, ranks nations according to their citizens' quality of life rather than strictly by a nation's traditional economic figures. There is a secondary report, the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI), that adjusts a nation's HDI based off of the "average person's" experience, versus an overall mean. Hypothetically a perfectly equal country would have the same HDI and IHDI, though in practice all countries suffer at least a minor drop in scores.

The criteria for calculating rankings include life expectancy, educational attainment, and adjusted real income. Researchers run these data points through an equation that gives them a final total score for each country, ranging effectively between 0 and 1. Check out the 10 least livable countries by rank and score, as well as our profiles on the countries on the list. Also be sure to check out our list of the most livable countries. All data come from the 2019 Human Development Report, the most recent on record. 




HDI Score














Unlike the highest ranked countries, which tend to remain fairly stable over time, the lowest ranked on the list tend to fluctuate. Armed conflicts, disease epidemics, or famines play major roles in sinking these countries' HDI scores; these events can arise rapidly, making long-term predictions harder. Niger has consistently remained at the bottom of the list due to regional violence over resources and ideological differences, and major influxes of refugees from neighboring countries straining Niger's already limited resources. Luckily, most countries in the bottom ten for Human Development have seen their scores increase. Only Chad has declined since last year.

Source: Human Development Report, 2019, United Nations. Web: hdr.undp.org .
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