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Finland top world country - report. Norway has enjoyed status as the world’s best country to live in. This is not the case regarding social progress in 2016, a new survey shows. Finland was given a score of 90.09 overall in this year’s Social Progress Index published by US non-profit Social Progress Imperative, putting it in first place – up six places on last year. Norway was also beaten by Canada (in second place with 89.49), and Denmark (third, 89.39). "Both Finland and Norway score exceptionally well on this year's Index. Finland's top ranking is testament to its fantastic results across a wide range of measures including the personal freedoms, rights and press freedoms enjoyed by citizens. Norway scores very high on press freedoms and political rights but is arguably let down by access to advanced education - particularly the relatively low number of globally ranked universities available to students,” Michael Green, the organisation’s Executive Director told The Foreigner.

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Finland top world country - report

Published on Wednesday, 29th June, 2016 at 13:47 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 30th June 2016 at 10:44.

Norway has enjoyed status as the world’s best country to live in. This is not the case regarding social progress in 2016, a new survey shows.

Helsinki Music Centre building
Finland is best on social progress, according to the report.Helsinki Music Centre building
Photo: Pixabay/Public Domain


Finland was given a score of 90.09 overall in this year’s Social Progress Index published by US non-profit Social Progress Imperative, putting it in first place – up six places on last year. Norway was also beaten by Canada (in second place with 89.49), and Denmark (third, 89.39).

"Both Finland and Norway score exceptionally well on this year's Index. Finland's top ranking is testament to its fantastic results across a wide range of measures including the personal freedoms, rights and press freedoms enjoyed by citizens. Norway scores very high on press freedoms and political rights but is arguably let down by access to advanced education - particularly the relatively low number of globally ranked universities available to students,” Michael Green, the organisation’s Executive Director told The Foreigner.

Australia came fourth with a score of 89.13, and Switzerland fifth 88.87. Sweden was ranked sixth and given 88.80.

Seventh-place Norway got 88.70. Netherlands was ranked eighth with 88.65. There was also positive news for the UK, and perhaps ex-England football coach Roy Hodgson – though the rankings were obviously compiled before the pro-Brexit voting country lost 2-1 to their former ‘Cod Wars’ opponents.

EU Parliament President Martin ‘sourpuss’ Schulz’ least favourite nation’s team beat Iceland, achieving ninth position with an overall score of 88.58. Iceland came in tenth place with 88.45, tying with New Zealand. All top ten countries were awarded ‘Very High Social Progress’ status’.

“The UK ranks higher this year than Iceland but it is by only the thinnest of margins. The UK's result on ‘access to advanced education’ – it finishes an impressive third – is particularly impressive and is thanks partly to the high number of students in tertiary education who take up places at a globally-ranked university (57%),” said Michael Green.

“Iceland performs very well across a wide range of measures, particularly on tolerance and inclusion, for which it ranks top globally owing to its high religious tolerance and low discrimination and violence against minorities,” he continued.

Three countries, three world-leading components

The Social Progress Imperative’s Social Progress Index 2016, which is published annually, considers three main categories – Basic Human Needs, Foundations of Wellbeing, and Opportunity,

The three main categories are divided further into 12 subcategories:

  • Nutrition and Basic Medical Care, Water and Sanitation, Shelter, and Personal Safety (Basic Human Needs)
  • Access to Basic Knowledge, Access to Information and Communications, Health and Wellness, and Environmental Quality (Foundations of Wellbeing)
  • Personal Rights, Personal Freedom and Choice, Tolerance and Inclusion, and Access to Advanced Education (Opportunity)

Finland attained 96.11 for Basic Human Needs, 87.61 for Foundations and Wellbeing, and 86.56 for Opportunity. Third-place Denmark was given 96.63, 88.56, and 82.97, respectively.

The respective category scores for Sweden were 95.42, 88.68, 82.31, and Norway, 95.19, 89.37, and 81.55. Iceland was awarded 95.27, 85.71, and 84.36, respectively.

“The Nordic Countries – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, and Norway as a group – achieve very high social progress, with all five countries ranking in the top tier,” the report stated.

“[…] Sweden, Norway, and Iceland all rank in the top ten in the world on seven out of twelve components and lead the world on one component: Sweden in Environmental Quality, Norway in Access to Information and Communications, and Iceland in Tolerance and Inclusion.”

For the UK, the respective figures were 93.04 (Basic Human Needs), 87.91 (Foundations of Wellbeing), and 84.79 (Opportunity).

Rivalling the Nordic model

2016’s report also states that the UK, Canada and Australia “rival the Nordic model for social progress success.”

“Whilst the Nordic model of social responsibility is rightly seen as a world-beater, in fact, this year’s Index demonstrates that you don’t need to be from a Nordic nation to enjoy very high levels of social progress,” Social Progress Imperative Executive Director Michael Green commented in a statement.

“Policy-makers around the world would do well to look at countries like Canada and Australia to learn what leaders are successfully doing to improve the lives of their citizens,” added Mr Green.

Norway was in first place in 2015’s 133-country index with an overall score of 88.36. Sweden came second (88.06), Iceland fourth (87.62), Finland seventh (86.75), and Denmark eighth (86.63). The UK was in eleventh position with 84.68.

Moreover, the organisation remarks that GDP is ‘no guarantee’ of quality of life. The World Bank’s definition is used here, with GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity (PPP).

“The 2016 Index finds that while social progress does tend to rise as GDP increases, economic wealth on its own does not explain social progress outcomes,” staff stated.

Finland is this year’s top performing country, followed by Canada, Denmark, Australia, and Switzerland, but their GDP per capita varies, despite having “very similar social progress scores”.

“EU membership strongly beneficial”

“Finland has the lowest GDP per capita ($38,535) of the top 5 (Canada—$42,778; Denmark—$42,758; Australia—$43,219; Switzerland—$55,260), showing that higher GDP can help generate higher social progress but it is not the whole story,” commented the US non-profit organisation (2014 figures).

Sweden’s, Norway’s, and Iceland’s 2014 GDP PPPs were $44,034, $64.004, and $41,236, respectively. The figure was $38,178 for the UK.

“In general, the EU+EFTA group of countries perform well, even relative to their high GDP per capita. The strong performance of the first wave of Eastern European countries that were once part of the Communist Bloc suggests that EU Membership has been strongly beneficial to social progress,” explained The Social Progress Imperative.

The ten nations that were placed bottom of the overall Social Progress 2016 rankings are:

  • Liberia (45.07)
  • Sierra Leone (44.22)
  • Ethiopia (43.50) – all classified as having ‘Low Social Progress
  • Yemen (41.76)
  • Guinea (41.66)
  • Niger (41.63)
  • Angola (39.70)
  • Chad (36.38)
  • Afghanistan (35.89)
  • Central African Republic (30.03) – ‘Very Low Social Progress’ classification.

The full report can be accessed here.



Published on Wednesday, 29th June, 2016 at 13:47 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 30th June 2016 at 10:44.

This post has the following tags: social, report, economic, finland, norway, nordics, report, paywall.





  
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