“The desire to climb arbitrary ranking ladders seems to be an innate human instinct. The World Bank hopes to harness it for good. The development organization has put its considerable muscle behind a new international ranking of how well countries help their residents live up to their economic potential.
The bank’s Human Capital Index seeks to show, as a simple percentage, how close a country comes to providing education and healthy lives to all residents, thus maximizing their opportunity to succeed.
The United States comes in at 24th, behind many East Asian and European nations, and in a statistical tie with Serbia, a country with about a quarter as much GDP per capita. Broken down by gender, the United States comes in 25th for men and 32nd for women. Consistent gender data isn’t available for all countries, and thus the ranks shouldn’t be compared to the overall.”