Want social advancement? Head to NZ

New Zealand has been named as the world’s most socially advanced country in a new report.

social-progress-indexAccording to the Social Progress Imperative, whose advisory board is led by Harvard economist Professor Michael Porter, New Zealand ranked first out of 130 countries based on 54 indicators of social progress.

The country topped the world on indicators of personal rights and freedoms, and comes in the top four for water and sanitation, access to schooling and tertiary education, and tolerance and inclusion of minority groups.

However, the report wasn’t all good news for NZ. The country ranked in the bottom half on suicide rates (76th) and obesity (115th).

Overall, though, New Zealand recorded a total score of 88.24 out of 100. Switzerland was ranked second, with 88.19 points, followed by Iceland, the Netherlands and Norway.

“New Zealand’s ranking as the most socially progressive nation on earth is an exceptional result. It’s some accolade that across so many measures New Zealand outperforms countries like the United States, UK and Australia,” explained Michael Green Executive Director of the Social Progress Imperative. “It’s particularly on the measure of ‘Opportunity’ that New Zealand performs strongly thanks to it’s top global rankings on ‘Personal Rights’ and ‘Personal Freedom and Choice’.”

Indeed, New Zealand enjoys the world’s 25th highest GDP per capita of $25,857, whereas the United States (16th in the rankings), has a per capita GDP of over $45,000; the UK in 13th has a per capita GDP of over $32,500; and Australia in 10th has a per capita GDP of $34,669.