Korea jumped 14 notches to 12th place in this year's Human Development Index by the United Nations Development Programme. The index is compiled based on various factors including gross domestic product per capita, life expectancy and educational attainment.
Norway topped the list, followed by Australia, New Zealand, the U.S. and Ireland.
Korea had remained in 26th place from 2006 until 2009, but this year surged ahead of 13th-place Switzerland. The rise was mainly due to the sluggishness of European economies including Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Italy and Spain amid the financial crisis last year and the debt crisis this year.