With an average score of 73.95, North America is the strongest regional performer on the Human Capital Index, with the United States (4) ranking in the Index top 10 and Canada (14) ranking in the top 20. In both countries, more than 40% of the 25–54 age group is employed in high-skilled occupations, with the United States surpassing Canada in economic complexity specifically and on the Know-how subindex more broadly. However, the United States also possesses a comparatively large low-skilled sector, indicating a certain degree of uneven distribution and polarization of its human capital. The United States also underperforms compared to its northern neighbour on the quality of its primary schools, highlighting that there is no room for complacency when it comes to building the human capital potential of the nation’s next generation workforce.
Despite both countries’ strong results on the Capacity subindex, reporting some of the world’s highest education attainment rates among their older generations, more could be done to fully leverage this human capital across the Deployment subindex, with labour force participation indicators for the core working-age population ranking comparatively low for both countries. However, with a 65 and over age group labour force participation rate of 19% and 14%, respectively, and a healthy life expectancy above 70, the United States and Canada enable older workers who choose to remain active to do so—highlighting the benefits of tapping into the potential of a high-skilled and productive ‘silver’ workforce.