David Stuart

Australia 'world beater' in social progress

NEW research has confirmed what most Australians already knew - it's a cracking place to live.

Research from American not-for-profit organisation Social Progress Imperative found Australia is the fourth most socially advanced nation in the world and is "one of the best countries in the world to live".

The research measures the "social progress" of 99% of the world's population.

Australia ranked second globally on personal rights, freedom of speech, freedom of movement and political rights.

Only New Zealand rated higher in those categories.

Australia also ranked seventh for tolerance and inclusion which measures religious tolerance and tolerance for immigrants; and fifth for access to education.

SPI executive director Michael Green said Australia was one of the leading countries in a number of categories.

"It's clear from these results that Australia is one of the best countries in the world to live," he said.

"On personal rights in particular Australia is a world beater, ranking top globally across a range of measures including on political rights and freedom of speech."
But Mr Green said Australia ranked 23rd on press freedom, due to a heavy ownership concentration, and ranked just 18th for health and wellness.

"This is partly due to the very high levels of obesity which drags down the score, and on which arguably more needs to be done by policy-makers to address the issue," he said.

Although it beat Australia in some categories, New Zealand ranked 10th overall. The United States ranked 19th.

The index was created to stand alongside economic measures like gross domestic product to "provide a more holistic understanding of countries' overall performance". - ARM NEWSDESK


Top five socially advanced nations

1- Finland

2- Canada

3- Denmark

4- Australia

5- Switzerland

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