information for transformational people

Social Progress 246UK in top 10 countries in world for social progress

‘Social progress’ is defined as the capacity of a society to meet the basic human needs of its citizens, establish the building blocks that allow citizens and communities to enhance and sustain the quality of their lives, and create the conditions for all individuals to reach their full potential. Inclusive growth requires achieving both economic and social progress.

The Social Progress Imperative publishes an Index of Social Progress which measures 160 countries on:

  • Basic Human Needs
  • Foundations of Wellbeing
  • Opportunity

Various submeasures build towards scores, e.g. medical care e.g rate of deaths from infectious diseases, water and sanitation, access to information, access to education, etc.

The top 10 countries in the 2016 Index are:

Country Social Progress Index Basic Human Needs Foundations of Wellbeing Opportunity
Finland 90.09 96.11 87.61 86.56
Canada 89.49 95.14 83.76 89.58
Denmark 89.39 96.63 88.56 82.87
Australia 89.13 94.81 85.72 86.84
Switzerland 88.87 96.26 88.44 81.89
Sweden 88.80 95.42 88.68 82.31
Norway 88.70 95.19 89.37 81.55
Netherlands 88.65 95.23 88.86 81.85
United Kingdom 88.58 93.04 87.91 84.79
New Zealand 88.45 93.52 85.33 86.51
Iceland 88.45 95.27 85.71 84.36

So is this just because we are a 'wealthy' country i.e high GDP per person? Not really - we seem to be punching above our weight compared to wealthier countries as this chart shows:

social progress vs GDP

The Social Progress Index was designed to be a practical tool to help social innovators in government, business, and civil society address the major social and environmental problems in their countries and communities. See the Index here.

I find myself having two reactions, one selfish - thankfulness that we are a very socially progressive country despite all the imperfections that people raise. Our inclination, our DNA is one of continuing to innovate and reform and such change often proves difficult. The other reaction is outward looking - how can we help those countries less fortunate than ourselves? Our overseas aid, used well, is just one initiative. We though can play a role.  

You will see that social progress is not just down to the state - the government. Business and civil society (including the Church) are very much part of the solution.

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Geoff Knott, 31/05/2017

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