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Australia slips on the Social Progress Index

Australia’s score on the global Social Progress Index has dropped, pushing the nation down from 9th to 15th place on the Index

Australia has dropped six places in 12 months on the global Social Progress Index (SPI), which measures people’s quality of life and the wellbeing of society, independent of wealth.

The SPI, compiled by the US-based nonprofit Social Progress Imperative, ranks 146 countries’ social performance across five years (2014-18), using 51 indicators covering nutrition, shelter, safety, education, health as well as rights and inclusiveness.

Deloitte Australia Chief Strategy and Innovation officer Rob Hillard said; “Australia hasn’t performed badly. It is just that our gains have been modest and other nations had recorded a greater improvement in key areas, pushing us from 9th to 15th place on the Index.

“We are still a country with an enviable standard of living and score highly in diverse areas such as for our clean water, education, freedom of expression. But the Index notes Australia’s high greenhouse emissions and marks us down for the refugees being held on Manus Island and Narau.”

Australia received a score of 88.32/100, with Norway topping the list with a score of 90.26/100, boasting strong performance across all the components of the index. Norway has improved more than any of its Nordic neighbors. Central African Republic is at the bottom.

The US was among only six countries in the world to have fallen back overall. The US has dropped from 85.70/100 in 2014 to 84.78/100 in 2018.

“With an increasingly complex set of global challenges we believe that business should actively collaborate to drive policies and initiatives that seek to improve the wellbeing of society and facilitate economic growth,” said Hillard.

The Index reveals the richest countries have recorded sluggish progress; the poorer improving faster. All of the 30 highest ranked countries on the SPI are high income, but just two of them, Luxembourg and South Korea, experienced significant improvement since 2014. In contrast, the countries that have improved the most over the past five years are low and lower –middle income: Nepal, Ethiopia, Ghana and Pakistan among the biggest gainers.

If the world were a country, it would fall between Botswana (89) and the Philippines (90). That indicates an improvement in global social progress of 2.6 per cent. This is principally being driven by access to information and communications, shelter, and access to advanced education.

Deloitte is supporting the work of the Social Progress Imperative in order to help clients and business make better decisions around policy investments, resources and collaborations.

The 2018 Index is available at www.socialprogressimperative.org

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