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New Zealand ranked 10th globally for social progress, Australia drops to 15

New Zealand ranked 10th globally for social progress, Australia drops to 15

New Zealand ranked 10th globally for social progress, Australia drops to 15

New Zealand hold steady in the top tier of the 2018 Social Progress Index (SPI) rankings in 10th place, bolstered by performance on indicators of inclusion, personal freedom and choice. Australia, in contrast, drops six places, and into the second tier, to 15th place on the SPI. 

Norway tops the 2018 Social Progress Index, boasting strong performance across all the components and indicators. It’s followed by Iceland, Switzerland, Denmark and Finland to round out the top five.

The 2018 SPI, compiled by the Social Progress Imperative, a US-based nonprofit, ranks 146 countries’ social performance across five years (2014-18), using 51 indicators covering Nutrition, Shelter, Safety, Education, Health, as well as Rights and Inclusiveness.

On Personal Rights (including Political Rights and Freedom of expression), 75 of the 146 ranked countries witnessed declines. On Inclusiveness (including acceptance of gays and lesbians and violence against minorities), 56 of the 146 ranked countries witnessed declines.

Despite this, the Index shows the world making overall gains, with 133 of the 146 countries seeing overall improvements in social progress, with the greatest achievements being recorded in parts of Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Commenting on the global results, CEO of the Social Progress Imperative Michael Green says there seems to be a progress paradox in how quality of life is changing around the world.

“On one hand we see real progress against hunger and disease and getting people in poorer countries connected to basic infrastructure. At the same time rights are being eroded and intolerance is growing across a wide range of countries, rich and poor alike,” says Green.

“It is also clear that, although richer countries top the rankings, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is far from being the sole determinant of social progress. Across the spectrum, from rich to poor, we see how some countries are much better at turning their economic growth into social progress than others,” he adds.

Deloitte Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Deborah Lucas, says that New Zealand is a case in point, ranking 10th out of 146 countries in social progress while only ranking 25th in GDP PPP per capita.

“While economic strength, as measured by GDP, is no doubt important, New Zealand’s experience shows that there are more factors contributing to any country’s ‘success’. We are encouraged by the New Zealand Government’s greater focus on holistic wellbeing. And we look forward the introduction of the first Wellbeing Budget next year, which has the potential to support continued social progress here,” says Lucas.

The United States has dropped seven places to 25th overall.

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