UNITED NATIONS, July 25 (UPI) -- The U.N.'s annual Human Development Report released Thursday shows that the world's 85 richest people are wealthier than the poorest 3.5 billion.
The top five countries ranked in the Human Development Index (HDI) are Norway, Australia, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United States. The bottom five are all from Africa: Mozambique, Guinea, Burundi, Burkina Faso and Eritrea. The U.N. attributed slowing improvements in health, education and income to worsening income inequality, climate change and government corruption.
The authors found that nearly one-third of people are poor or vulnerable to poverty with 1.2 billion people living on less than $1.25 per day. The report says that human development can be improved by "universal access to basic social services, especially health and education; stronger social protection, including unemployment insurance and pensions; and a commitment to full employment, recognizing that the value of employment extends far beyond the income it generates."
"If you invest in people, if you upgrade your infrastructure and increase the choices available to all, you will have a more stable society," wrote Khalid Malik, one of the authors of the study.