LONDON - The United Kingdom (UK) has been ranked the 13th best place to live in the world - one behind the Seychelles - according to new research.

As part of a research project called "The Statehood Index StIx", experts looked at 173 states and graded them on how well they fulfilled their residents' basic needs, including analyses of law, violence and administration.

The research put Singapore at the top of the index, followed by Australia and Denmark, while the Netherlands, Estonia, Luxembourg, Norway, Belgium, New Zealand and Germany made up the rest of the top ten.

The USA came 23rd with Taiwan, 43rd, beating China into 61st place.

At the other end of the scale, the bottom of the index was made up by South Sudan at 171, Yemen at 172 and Libya at 173 - all classed as collapsed states.

North Korea was ranked 68th - two places above Russia at 70th - with Ukraine currently ranked at 129th following its invasion.

Papua New Guinea, the highest ranking collapsed state, is positioned 163rd, followed by Syria, 165 and Somalia 166.

Political scientists Dr Theresa Paola Stawski, from the Department of Comparative Politics and Systems at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (JMU), said: "We can see the state in everything that surrounds us, for example in the streets, the courts, the police or the schools.

"The fact that a patient who needs an X-ray examination receives a doctor's appointment promptly, that there are schools all over the country and that electricity flows day and night, all this constitutes a well-functioning state."

She suggested that while the UK may have problems, it is still a far better place to live than some other countries, adding: "Elsewhere there are famines, epidemics and serious diseases, and almost no medical care.

"Things we take for granted are not available at all or no longer available in many countries of the world."

Dr Stawski added that a "functioning state" is not always linked to democracy, saying: "Singapore, for example, is not a democracy. The United Arab Emirates (32nd) is also in the field of highly functional states."

"We did not only measure the formal state, but we also looked at the informal side, such as corruption," she said.

"In some countries, you have to reckon with the fact that the law enforcement agencies are bribed.

"There may be enough police officers. But when police officers act in a biased way, it is bad for citizens.

"Well-done reforms can improve governance, mere changes of government, on the other hand, often have little effect."