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Bordering Countries by HDI Difference

Name the countries that share a land border and that have the largest difference in Human Development Index.
Methodology: All countries are ranked. The countries that appear on the list are the countries with the greatest difference in rank.
HDI is a measure of life expectancy, education, and income per capita.
Numbers from the 2021/2022 HDI report or latest available data.
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: November 2, 2022
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First submittedNovember 16, 2017
Times taken42,327
Average score84.8%
Rating4.90
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Difference
Countries
149
Saudi Arabia
Yemen
132
Oman
Yemen
131
Israel
Syria
107
Iran
Afghanistan
105
Turkey
Syria
104
China
Afghanistan
100
Spain
Morocco
99
Algeria
Niger
96
Algeria
Mali
94
Israel
Lebanon
88
Iran
Pakistan
87
Turkmenistan
Afghanistan
87
Saudi Arabia
Iraq
Difference
Countries
86
Libya
Chad
86
Dominican Republic
Haiti
86
Thailand
Myanmar
85
Libya
Niger
85
China
Pakistan
84
Israel
Jordan
83
Thailand
Cambodia
80
Uzbekistan
Afghanistan
79
Chile
Bolivia
77
Israel
Egypt
77
Thailand
Laos
76
Turkey
Iraq
76
South Africa
Mozambique
+29
Level ∞
Nov 16, 2017
I reset this quiz to use difference in rank rather than difference in the the HDI number, which I think yields better results.
+14
Level 67
Nov 16, 2017
Good choice, master.
+7
Level 82
Mar 5, 2018
Not sure what it was like before but every entry here makes sense and is pretty easy to guess. Thinking of the non-contiguous bits of some European countries is perhaps the only really tricky part.
+25
Level 64
Mar 5, 2018
Are we all going to ignore the fact that he used "the" twice in a row.
+29
Level 82
Mar 5, 2018
sounds like a good plan to me
+6
Level 45
Apr 23, 2019
No, our brains are ignoring it.
+19
Level 79
Feb 27, 2020
Are we all going to ignore the fact that M. Custard ended a question with a full stop.
+6
Level 67
Mar 17, 2020
@jackinthebox Muphry's law!
+5
Level 47
Dec 1, 2020
@JackintheBox, you also forgot a question mark.
+1
Level 35
Feb 16, 2023
Meta Murphy's Low!
+1
Level 52
Jun 9, 2021
yes, its not a big deal
+2
Level 67
Nov 7, 2022
I even read it after seeing your comment and still missed the "the"s.
+36
Level 62
Nov 16, 2017
Lots of unexpected results for me here. I was expecting North/South Korea and Haiti/Dominican Republic to be near the top. It was eye-opening that Oman is so high -- it's actually classified as "high human development". In my mind, I've always just lumped Oman and Yemen together as being similar poorly developed countries. Shows my ignorance.
+5
Level 64
Feb 26, 2020
Oman is quite well off. Many south east asians go there for work, like UAE
+3
Level 60
Aug 31, 2021
Also, it's not in a state of civil war for most of it's existence.
+3
Level 67
Feb 16, 2023
Aside from Yemen, most countries in the Arabian peninsula have a relatively high HDI
+1
Level 43
May 29, 2023
i thought all african countries were equally bad i just forgot the top
+1
Level 53
Jul 17, 2023
I think nk/sk would be on here but nk isn't transparent enough to measure hdi, so it is omitted.
+1
Level 72
Nov 17, 2017
Yeah tricky quiz this one.
+4
Level 77
Nov 17, 2017
Way too much time. Typed my way though most of Africa and South America and had a minute left still.
+3
Level 16
Nov 27, 2017
Where is Russia and Norway (145), Russia and Finland (91), Moldova and Romania (103), Ukraine and Poland (112), Ukraine and Slovakia (102), Ukraine and Hungary (93), Guyana and Brazil (116), Bolivia and Brazil (80), Brazil and France (French Guyana) (143), Suriname and France (French Guyana) (172), Zimbabwe and South Africa (150), etc??
+3
Level ∞
Nov 27, 2017
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Human_Development_Index
+3
Level ∞
Nov 28, 2017
But one of these actually was missing. France and Suriname. Now added!
+1
Level 53
Feb 26, 2020
India and pakistan (87)
+1
Level 79
Feb 27, 2020
No—according to the 2019 HDI report, India is ranked #129 while Pakistan is #152. That's a difference of 23.
+1
Level 46
Dec 4, 2017
Surprised that Singapore didn't make the list.
+11
Level 77
Dec 5, 2017
There's no land border, I guess the bridge doesn't count.
+1
Level 65
Feb 9, 2023
It's not a land border.
+3
Level 79
Feb 27, 2020
Even if the bridge did count (which it shouldn't), the difference in HDI rank between Singapore (#9) and Malaysia (#61) is 52 (as of the 2019 report).
+1
Level 79
Jan 3, 2023
Now the difference is 50 as of the 2022 report (#12 vs #62).
+2
Level 69
Mar 5, 2018
I was trying to come up with what bordered Morocco and Spain never entered my mind. Is there really a land connection?
+2
Level 45
Mar 5, 2018
Yeah, there's a tiny bit of Spain on Africa, across the strait, I can't remember what it's called...
+3
Level 45
Mar 5, 2018
It's called Ceuta.
+12
Level 71
Mar 5, 2018
Two separate Spanish enclaves in Morocco, Ceuta and Melilla.
+4
Level 52
Jun 9, 2021
3 if you count the tiny peninsula of penon de velez
+1
Level 82
Jan 11, 2020
But apparently Morocco isn't bad enough
+1
Level 79
Feb 27, 2020
I see Spain and Morocco have been removed?
+1
Level 65
Mar 5, 2018
Well done again. QM on fire!
+7
Level 47
Mar 5, 2018
France and Suriname? I've just had my daily dose of trickery! :)
+1
Level 62
Mar 5, 2018
Thank you! Always something new to learn. Love this site!
+2
Level 69
Mar 5, 2018
Can you add a callout that legitimizes overseas territories?
+5
Level 82
Jan 11, 2020
French Guiana is a distant part of France, not an overseas territory.
+1
Level 52
Jun 9, 2021
i think theyre talking about ceuta
+1
Level 67
Mar 5, 2018
France-Suriname and Spain-Morocco are both very tricksy!
+1
Level 77
Mar 5, 2018
France and Suriname....that one took a while to get! Nice quiz
+1
Level 73
Mar 5, 2018
Got that one with 0:11 left after I'd seemingly tried every country in the world about twice. Haha.
+2
Level 88
Mar 6, 2018
Gahhh! I guessed France with about seven seconds left, then mistakenly guessed Guyana. Then I typed s-u-r *TIME EXPIRES* ...maddening!
+1
Level 88
Nov 3, 2022
And this time I typed France right near the beginning, and it isn't even there!!!
+1
Level 65
Mar 6, 2018
I am shocked that UAE and Oman didn't make the cut...
+5
Level 82
Mar 8, 2018
Oman is nice. Much more like the UAE than like Yemen.
+2
Level 71
Apr 20, 2018
What's the difference between Russia and North Korea? Or between Zimbabwe and its neighbours?
+1
Level 75
Mar 14, 2023
spelling, among other things
+1
Level 45
Apr 23, 2019
I can't believe i guessed North Korea last.
+1
Level 49
May 18, 2019
Israel to Jordan is about as different as Jordan to Syria...
+3
Level ∞
Jan 10, 2020
In case anyone is curious, the difference between Mexico and the United States is 61.
+1
Level 29
Feb 26, 2020
I actually was curious, thx. What about Canada/US?
+2
Level 89
Feb 26, 2020
The difference between the US and Canada? 2.
+2
Level 67
Jan 11, 2020
Got them all except France and Suriname. I think you should mention that you include overseas territories.
+5
Level 75
Jan 11, 2020
French Guiana is not a territory. It's a department, similar to the US and Hawaii.
+3
Level 95
Jan 12, 2020
Border between Spain (25) and Morocco (121) is missing
+1
Level 79
Feb 27, 2020
Yes. That's a difference of 96.
+3
Level 73
Jan 15, 2020
surprised not to see the combination China - North Korea...
+1
Level 60
Aug 31, 2021
Yoi never heard that the average person in China isn't having that great of a life?
+3
Level 74
Nov 3, 2022
Data is missing for some countries. in the 2021/2022 version, North Korea, Somalia, Monaco and Nauru are missing. Maybe a caveat would be good.
+1
Level 67
Feb 16, 2023
Nauru does not have any land borders
+1
Level 34
Feb 26, 2020
can you put in brackets french guiana at least, confused me and thought there was a fault with the quiz. You could put "France (French Guiana)" otherwise nice, 30/31
+1
Level 85
Apr 12, 2020
French Guiana is France, not an overseas territory.
+5
Level 82
Feb 26, 2020
Israel and... every single one of its neighbors.
+5
Level 30
Feb 27, 2020
International support, contriubutions and investments of wealthy jewish families all around the world, CIA and Mossad constantly interfering in neighbouring countries affairs sewing instability and wars and proping up dictatorships and corrupt governments... I wonder why Israel is so better off! It must be because they are a master race that is supperior to their untermensch arab neighbours :)
+9
Level 82
Mar 2, 2020
Half of this is is true and half is paranoid rambling. Short answer is it's complicated but it's neither because they are God's chosen people, nor because the Elders of Zion are conspiring to keep down the Muslim ulemma. Both of those theories are obviously stupid.
+1
Level 79
Feb 27, 2020
Wait, Israel borders Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
+3
Level 79
Feb 27, 2020
...which are all included on the quiz.
+3
Level 53
Feb 27, 2020
omg every quiz hits me with the dang french guiana
+1
Level 38
Mar 4, 2020
What about Morocco and Spain? 25th & ~120-123rd?

Or do Ceuta and Melilla not count?

+1
Level 74
Nov 3, 2022
Included in the current version (2021/2022)
+1
Level 57
Apr 7, 2021
Kim Jong-un wants to know your location
+1
Level 85
Oct 17, 2021
Spain-Morocco is missing
+1
Level 52
Nov 6, 2021
Looking at most of the countries on here, my conclusion is that being at war is bad for your HDI ranking.
+1
Level 57
Nov 17, 2021
It felt good getting them all first try
+1
Level 65
Jul 29, 2022
Rwanda-Burundi??
+1
Level 39
Apr 27, 2023
Rwanda is 165 and Burundi is 187, so a difference of 22.
+2
Level 73
Nov 2, 2022
Where do China and Saudi Arabia border each other?
+3
Level 77
Nov 2, 2022
I was going to ask the same thing. Has the belt and road expanded faster than any of us are aware???
+4
Level ∞
Nov 2, 2022
Don't know what happened there. Was supposed to be Afghanistan not Saudi Arabia. Now fixed.
+1
Level 83
Nov 2, 2022
Saudi Arabia - China ???
+3
Level 84
Nov 3, 2022
Ah yes. I'll never forget the day I was stopped at the Saudi Arabia - China border. I looked like a right fool dressed for desert weather in the middle of Chinese winter.
+2
Level 85
Nov 2, 2022
North Korea - South Korea apparently used to be on this, but if it's not listed because no HDI is available for North Korea, this should probably be mentioned.
+1
Level ∞
Nov 2, 2022
The difference is not great enough to qualify.
+2
Level 74
Nov 3, 2022
Data is missing for some countries. in the 2021/2022 version, North Korea, Somalia, Monaco and Nauru are missing. Maybe a caveat would be good.
+1
Level ∞
Nov 3, 2022
No need for a caveat beyond what's already there.
+1
Level 84
Nov 3, 2022
I don't understand. South Korea is in a tie for 19th. How can you be so sure that North Korea would be ranked at least 94 if it was on the list? The last time it was rated (1995), it was ranked 75 out of 174. Its score of .766 would rank it 83 now, and its HDI has probably dropped in the intervening 27 years. It would only need to drop 12 places, which would happen if its HDI fell by .022. You're totally sure that North Korea's HDI is at least .745 today, after going through COVID without access to vaccines?
+1
Level 82
Nov 2, 2022
I remember speaking to an Australian lawyer while in Phnom Penh who lives there. He said he enjoyed it there (the rest of his family were Cambodian), but sometimes he needs to go to Bangkok, just for a little touch of modernity. This quiz shows why that would be.
+4
Level 77
Nov 2, 2022
Quizmaster, what about Belgium and literally any other it borders?
+1
Level 73
Nov 3, 2022
LOL ! are you serious ??
+6
Level 70
Nov 3, 2022
The presence of Belgium brings the HDI of its neighbouring countries down drastically (hence why the France-Suriname border was removed from the quiz).
+1
Level 79
Jan 3, 2023
Belgium has unsurpassable waffles!
+2
Level 77
Dec 1, 2022
I immediately thought of 3 pairs:

USA and Mexico

France and Suriname

North Korea and South Korea

Imagine my surprise when NONE are on this list.

+1
Level 71
Jan 5, 2023
I'm sure North Korea-South Korea would be here but for the fact that North Korea does not have current HDI data.
+2
Level 67
Jan 14, 2023
What about French Guiana-Suriname?
+1
Level 39
Apr 27, 2023
France is 28 and Suriname is 99, so a difference of 71. Almost makes the list but not quite.
+1
Level 36
Feb 7, 2023
Morocco doesn't border Spain though.(100 difference)
+2
Level 67
Feb 23, 2023
I think that Ceuta and Mellilla may disagree with you.