Until recently, the only way economists measured the success of a country was through GDP (gross domestic product). While that is a great way to see how much money a country was making, it didn’t tell us anything about how happy a country was. Fortunately, the 2015 Social Progress Index is hoping to change the way we measure a “successful” country by looking at important aspects like health and wellness, access to education and personal safety. It tracks 52 indicators in total and focuses on three sections: basic human needs like nutrition, water and sanitation; foundations of well-being such as access to basic knowledge and access to communication; and opportunities such as personal rights, tolerances and personal freedom. Curious to know what the top 10 are? Let’s find out…
Coming in at number one is Norway, followed by Sweden, Switzerland, Iceland and New Zealand. Canada, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Australia take the last five spaces as the world’s most socially progressive countries as well as being some of the places on our “must visit” travel list. Are you surprised the US didn’t make it into the top 10? We were as well, but like the study pointed out, our healthcare is pretty average for an advanced country. So while the US has the world’s top GDP, it’s really not doing everything it can to improve the lives of its citizens.
We agree that the way a country deals with personal safety and personal freedom is a much better indicator of well-being than the more traditional GDP measurement. And the best thing about this Social Progress Index is that it gives countries an opportunity to identify specific areas for growth and improvement, whether that be improving rural access to water or enforcing freedom of speech.
Would you ever move to a country based on its well-being status? Talk to us in the comments below!
(h/t Fast Company)