Ireland ranks as one of the best places to live.Getty

Despite Ireland's current economic turmoil and high rates of emigration, a UN Development programme report has ranked Ireland fifth in a quality-of-life index.

Last year Ireland was rated as one of the top five countries and has managed to retain it's place for 2010. The only countries to beat Ireland to the top were Norway, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S.

In the United Nations ranking list, Ireland has remained unchanged since 2005 while Iceland slipped by 10 places to 17th place in the same period.

Based on Irish indicators such as life expectancy at birth (80.3 years), gross national income per capita ($33,078) and average schooling (11.6 years) Ireland was ranked as having “very high human development”.

Taking final place on the list of 169 countries was Zimbabwe, which have a life expectancy of just 47 years.

Ireland was ahead of Canada in eighth place, Germany in 10th place and the UK at 26th place.

The index was originally devised in 1990 to offer an alternative to gross national product per capita, which is the common marker of human progress.