Hong Kong has once again been ranked second only to Japan as the best place to live in Asia, in the annual United Nations Human Development Index. The city has the third-highest life expectancy in the world at 79.7 years and ranks 26th in overall human development. The index was released by the United Nations Development Programme in the same week Hong Kong was declared the freest economy in the world for the seventh year running by two prominent pro-business think-tanks. Norway was deemed the best place to live in the world among 175 countries and regions rated, while Singapore was slightly behind Hong Kong in 28th place. China came in at 104. The rankings are based on a range of factors including literacy rates, life expectancy, economic performance, expenditure on health and education, technological capabilities and social equality, including the participation of women in education and politics. The report explained human development rankings were about more than wealth and poverty, but reflected the quality of life and the existence of an environment for people to 'develop their full potential and lead productive, creative lives in accord with their needs'. The report said: 'The most basic capabilities for human development are to lead long and healthy lives, to be knowledgeable, to have access to the resources needed for a decent standard of living and to be able to participate in the life of the community. 'Without these, many choices are simply not available, and many opportunities in life remain inaccessible.' In terms of mobile phone subscribers, Hong Kong ranked third in the world at 859 per 1,000 people, behind Italy and Iceland. Gross domestic product (GDP) per capita was US$24,850 for Hong Kong, the 15th highest in the world and the second highest in Asia behind Japan at US$25,130. Luxembourg had the highest GDP per capita at US$53,780. But in terms of education, based on the adult literacy rate and primary, secondary and tertiary enrolment ratios, the city was in 89th place against 69 for Singapore. A separate survey by the Health Ministry of Japan found the average life spans of Hong Kong women just behind Japanese women, the world leaders. Hong Kong women live an average of 84.6 years while their Japanese counterparts live 85.23 years. Men here live to 78.4 years on average, outliving their Japanese peers by a few months. The UNDP report also found while the highest-ranked countries were continuing to get richer, 54 developing countries got poorer over the past decade, among them mostly sub-Saharan African countries. It called on richer countries to remain committed to responding to developing countries' political and economic needs with assistance and lower trade barriers. Eveline Herfkens, executive co-ordinator of the UNDP's millennium development goals campaign, said: 'Without rich nations doing their share, the poor countries will not be able to achieve the goals.'