According to the United Nations, more than 60 percent of the population in the southern regions of Kazakhstan live below the poverty line, while less than ten percent of the inhabitants of northern Kazakhstan live in poverty. The Interfax news agency quoted a UN official as saying that since 1993, Kazakhstan has ranked 93rd in the world according to the “index of human development.” Before 1993, it was in 54th place. The official noted, however, that Kazakhstan’s standard of living has ceased its decline.