In a recent report by The Social Progress Imperative, New Zealand has been ranked highest in terms of social progress.
Countries were measured in terms of Basic Human Needs, Foundations of Wellbeing and Opportunity. Criteria include Nutrition and Basic Medical Care, Water and Sanitation, Shelter, Personal Safety, Ecosystem Sustainability, Tolerance and Inclusion and Access to Advanced Education. All top ten countries scored well in terms of Basic Needs, while New Zealand ranked highest in Opportunity and 6th in Foundations of Wellbeing. We ranked first on Personal Rights and Personal Freedom and Choice, and fourth on Tolerance and Inclusion.
Below is a table of the top ten countries:
New Zealand ranked higher than Switzerland and Iceland, despite having the lowest GDP. These top three countries all have small populations, which is likely key to their success. The report also attributed New Zealand’s success to our “unique history”, which took “a deliberately more egalitarian outlook”. In this regard our country “has taken a comparatively progressive approach in recognizing indigenous rights”, says the report.
Apart from our history, we are “recognized internationally as having a strong human rights record”. One weak area in the country’s progress is the wide gender pay gap, and the report noted the “limited gender diversity at the top”.