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Australia ranks in 12th position on World Social Progress Index

Australia has been ranked 12th in the world on social progress for the second year in a row with factors like ‘basic human needs’ and ‘opportunity’ doing exceptionally well. 

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The Social Progress Imperative thinks of social progress as ‘the capacity of a society to meet the basic human needs of its citizens, as well as enhancing and sustaining the quality of their lives, to create the conditions for all individuals to reach their full potential.’

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It is a holistic measure of a country's social performance that is independent of economic factors. The index is based on a range of social and environmental indicators that capture three dimensions of social progress: Basic Human Needs, Foundations of Wellbeing, and Opportunity.

The Social Progress Index tells a more complete story of how life is changing in a country by measuring a range of crucial indicators. And by revealing how countries are performing relative to one another, the index can also act as a prescriptive tool for policy-makers.

Within the ‘opportunity’ domain, Australia over-performed on Access to Advanced Education and ranked 2nd overall.


Professor Kristy Muir, CEO of the Centre for Social Impact, said the release of the global Social Progress Index for 2019 showed that Australia was making progress on some indicators but also revealed areas for improvement.

“The Social Progress Index for 2019 shows Australia holding steady within the top tier of global rankings and performing well on some important indicators,” said Professor Muir.

The top 20 countries with their Social Progress Index score out of a potential 100

  1. 1. Norway - 90.95

  2. 2. Denmark - 90.09

  3. 3. Switzerland - 89.89

  4. 4. Finland - 89.56

  5. 5. Sweden - 89.45

  6. 6. Iceland - 89.29

  7. 7. New Zealand - 88.93

  8. 8. Germany - 88.84

  9. 9. Canada - 88.81

  10. 10. Japan - 88.31

  11. 11. Netherlands - 88.31

  12. 12. Australia - 88.02

  13. 13. United Kingdom - 87.98

  14. 14. Ireland - 87.97

  15. 15. France - 87.79

  16. 16. Luxembourg - 87.66

  17. 17. Spain - 87.47

  18. 18. Portugal - 87.12

  19. 19. Belgium - 86.77

  20. 20. Austria - 86.40

The 2019 Social Progress Index includes data from 149 countries on 51 indicators. It includes 95% of the world population. It is designed as a complement to GDP and other economic indicators to provide a more holistic understanding of countries’ overall performance. The Social Progress Index also provides a practical way to track progress against the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Source: Social Progress Index

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