Czechs come in 22nd on Social Progress Index

The country scored high for safety, but did poorly on tolerance of immigrants

The Czech Republic ranked 22 out of 128 countries on the 2017 Social Progress Index published by the Social Progress Imperative.

The index aggregates social and environmental indicators that track three aspects of social progress: basic human needs, foundations of well-being, and opportunity. The 2017 Social Progress Index includes data from 128 countries on 50 indicators.

Social progress is defined by the makers of the index as the capacity of a society to meet the basic human needs of its citizens, establish the building blocks that allow citizens and communities to enhance and sustain the quality of their lives, and create the conditions for all individuals to reach their full potential.

Demark came in first in the ranking, and Scandinavian countries as well as Switzerland, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand took rest of the top 10 spots. Ireland, the UK, Germany and Austria also qualified as having very high social progress.

The Czech Republic fell into the second category, high social progress, just behind Slovenia and ahead of Estonia.

The bottom of the list was taken up by countries in Africa plus Yemen and Afghanistan. The Central African Republic was in last place.

Income levels weren't always the deciding factor. “While there is a clear correlation between the level of economic development and social progress, the relationship varies significantly. A country’s income group often does not correspond to its level of social progress, especially in middle- and lower-income countries,” the report stated.

The Czech Republic scored 84.22 points out of 100. Its 22nd place score was a bit ahead of its GDP ranking in purchasing power, where the country came in 26th place.

The country did best in meeting basic human needs, coming in sixth overall and picking up points for shelter and personal safety, including a low level of violent crime. Water and sanitation, and nutrition and basic medical care also were praised.

The second best area was opportunity, where the country was in 24th place. Higher than expected scores were earned in LGBT tolerance and percent of people in higher education. Low scores came for freedom of religion and religious tolerance, tolerance of immigrants and time spent in higher education.

For foundations of well-being the country came in 26th place, doing well for the number of internet users. Trouble spots included the suicide rate, deaths due to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

This is the fourth year for the index. “Relative to 2014, 113 out of 128 countries have improved their Social Progress Index score. The improvement of social progress is largely concentrated in South Asian and Western African nations, whose original scores were in the Lower Middle or Low Social Progress Tiers of the Index. This improvement suggests that countries at a relatively low level of social progress may be able to improve more rapidly since they both have more opportunities for improvement and can draw on lessons and approaches that have been implemented elsewhere,” the report stated.

“While global social progress is improving, a small group of 15 countries register a marked decline in their overall score, with an average decline in this group of 0.64 points. The biggest decliners are mainly in Central America or Sub-Saharan Africa, but Hungary stands out with the largest decline by far among European countries, driven largely by change in Tolerance and Inclusion,” the report added.

The goal of the Social Progress Imperative, according to its website, is to empower leaders and change-makers from business, government, and civil society by providing them with the data they need to understand where their actions will have the greatest impact.

Partners of the project include Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, Fundación Avina, Ford Foundation and Skoll Foundation. 

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