A report released today confirms why Canada is a one of the most socially advanced countries in the world. The Social Progress Index ranks Canada 6th out of 133 countries an improvement from last year and the highest of any G7 nation – in the social progress index (http://www.socialprogressimperative.org/data/spi).
The social progress index was developed by a leading Harvard economics academic, Michael Porter. It has wide endorsement by economists as a complement to measure traditional measures of gross domestic product, while tracking 52 indicators such as crime levels to literacy rates and gender equality. These are used to reflect whether a country is meeting the essential needs of its citizens while assessing future opportunities for its society. The index can be used as a complement to GDP to measure economic growth and prosperity of a country. It offers concrete measures to understand and prioritize an actionable agenda to advance social and economic performance.
The index broad measures including basic human needs, foundations of wellbeing and opportunities for its people. It provides compelling evidence that Canada performs high in a number of indices while placing first in opportunity for its people. It receives high marks for political rights, freedom of assembly and tolerance for immigrants, women’s average years of schooling, and the number of universities, high-school enrolment and low rates of crime.
However Canada performs low in other measures including access to information, cell phone subscriptions (it ranks 101st place perhaps due to high costs and inflexible plans). Canada lags in obesity and suicide rates, habitat protection and water use.
Norway tops the list as the world’s most socially advance nation. Rounding out the top five are Sweden, Switzerland, Iceland and New Zealand. The United States placed well back at 16th place. The lowest-ranked country is Central African Republic.
The index shows that economic might does not always move in tandem with the overall health of a society. The analysis finds that some countries over perform in social progress relative to their GDP per capita (Costa Rica, New Zealand and Rwanda). Others like Saudi Arabia underperform. Two important measures – health and environmental sustainability do not necessarily increase as countries grow in wealth.
The Index confirms that GDP is “far from being the sole determinant of social progress” and that holistic measures are an important determinant on the advancement of a country.
Attorney Colin Singer Commentary:
Indexes of this type continue to endorse Canada as a high destination for permanent residence or temporary immigration.