Thursday, June 30, 2016

Canada takes second spot globally on social-progress ranking - GLOBE AND MAIL

by Leyland Cecco 
Originally published: June 28, 2016

Canada ranks second in the world when it comes to turning economic prosperity into social progress, says a global ranking released Tuesday.

The 2016 Social Progress Index grades countries on how well they perform in the categories of “basic human needs,” “foundations of well-being” and “opportunity.” Within these categories, countries are also measured against 53 indicators, spanning nutrition, shelter, personal safety, tolerance and higher education. To arrive at a ranking, researchers scour a broad range of data, looking at how fairly laws are enforced, whether residents feel rent is too high and the strength of community safety nets.

“Measuring people’s real lived experience in that way is actually very powerful,” said Michael Green, executive director of the Social Progress Imperative (SPI), which compiles the index annually.

In 2010, researchers from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology first conceived of a global ranking system that would complement hard economic indicators often used to gauge a country’s success, such as gross domestic product. In 2013, the first SPI was tested using just 50 countries and then expanded to 133 countries the following year.