11 Jul 2017
Two weeks ago, we launched the 2017 Social Progress Index. The Social Progress Index is the first holistic measure of a country’s social performance that is independent of economic factors, and this year’s release is our best yet.
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Also, in case you missed the Index launch, here are seven headlines from the 2017 results:
1. The world is improving, but not fast or far enough
The world average has gone up by 2.6 percent since 2014, but we need to do better if we are going to meet our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals.
2. The G7 countries have experienced only modest improvements
Of the G7 countries, Canada is the highest-ranked (6th place globally), while Japan has seen the biggest improvements since 2014. Italy, ranked 24th, remains the laggard of the G7.
3. Denmark takes the top spot on the 2017 Index
Denmark performs well across the board, leading the world in Shelter and Personal Rights.
4. The biggest improvements have been in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa
Better Access to Information and Communications has underpinned Myanmar’s progress, while Ghana and Nigeria have significantly improved Access to Advanced Education.
5. The US is now a second-tier country on social progress
Placing just 18th in the world, the US has experienced particularly significant declines in Tolerance and Inclusion since 2014, and has slipped out of the tier of top performers on social progress.
6. New Zealand is the only country in the highest tier of social progress to overperform relative to its GDP
Ranked 9th in the world, New Zealand achieves the same level of social progress as Australia despite its significantly smaller GDP per capita.
7. GDP is not destiny
Countries as varied as Costa Rica and Nepal are achieving significantly better social outcomes than their GDP per capita would suggest are possible or likely. Others, like the US, France and Saudi Arabia, struggle to achieve levels of social progress that match their economic prosperity.
These are just some of the findings from the 2017 Index, and they only scratch the surface. Explore the full results and download our latest data to see how your country scored and discover global and regional trends.
The Social Progress Index is just the first step towards taking action and creating impact. Using these data, change makers from around the world can better understand the specific challenges each country faces and work together to take these challenges on.
As you find value in its insights, please make a gift to help us continue building a vibrant network, advocate for better data, and provide new insights for agents of progress to act on as they build a better world.
Below is a sampling of media reports and editorials about the 2017 Social Progress Index.
How the United States became a ‘second-tier’ country
America Is now a ‘second tier’ country