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Germany has 'room to improve' on tolerance

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Germany has 'room to improve' on tolerance
Germany took 14th place worldwide in a ranking of social progress. Photo: Shutterstock
16:35 CEST+02:00
The economic and political powerhouse of Europe ranked 14th place worldwide for overall social progress in ratings released on Thursday, but lagged behind other European leaders in areas like religious tolerance and violence towards minorities.

The index, developed by the Social Progress Imperative, a US non-profit group, gauges factors such as healthcare, education, safety, personal freedoms and access to food, water and shelter to assess what makes a country a good place to live.

The Social Progress Index 2015 scored 133 countries with available data, aiming to give a different assessment of the wealth of a country than its Gross Domestic Product.

Germany was ranked just below neighbour Austria at 13th place, while Norway topped the charts at first place, followed by Sweden in second.

Within the individual categories that the overall rankings were based on, the report showed that Germany performed strongest in 'personal freedom and choice', but had "room to improve" in tolerance and inclusion.

Germany ranked 80th place for religious tolerance, in league with countries like Saudi Arabia and China, as well as Sweden, France and the United Kingdom.

Iceland, New Zealand and Canada were among those ranked first in this category.

The country also ranked 28th place for discrimination and violence towards minorities, just above Costa Rica at 29th place.

Last week, the discussion about tolerance within Germany resurfaced when a refugee home was set on fire in what authorities called a case of "serious arson" in Tröglitz in Sachsen-Anhalt on Saturday.

Germany also ranked 27th place for tolerance towards immigrants, well below the United States at 11th place and the United Kingdom at 16th.

Germany still ranked above the United States for minority discrimination and violence, at 31st place, where ongoing dialogue on racial discrimination continues as another unarmed black man was recently shot and killed by police in South Carolina.

The US did out-perform Germany in tolerance towards homosexuals, with Germany ranked at 16th place and the US just ahead at 15th.

In the 'basic human needs' component, Germany scored high for water and sanitation, but was weak in personal safety.

The country also performed well in the evaluation of access to basic knowledge, but scored low in ecosystem sustainability.

Among the countries with the world’s biggest economies, the UK ranks 11th in the overall index, ahead of Germany, the US (16th) and Spain (20th), while France fell outside of the top 20 in 21st place.

"To truly advance social progress, we must learn to measure it, comprehensively and rigorously," the report stated.

"The Social Progress Index offers a rich framework for measuring the multiple dimensions of social progress, benchmarking success, and catalyzing greater human wellbeing."

Nordic countries all ranked within the top ten of the overall ratings, with Denmark falling right behind Finland, at seventh place, as well as Iceland at fourth.

The findings show that even the top ten countries — all of them small nations with populations under 25 million, with the exception of sixth-ranked Canada — score poorly on ecosystem sustainability.

The Central African Republic ranks at the bottom of the index, ahead of Chad, Afghanistan, Guinea and Angola.

However, 28 countries could not be fully evaluated because of lack of data.

Here are the top ten countries in the index:

1. Norway
2. Sweden
3. Switzerland
4. Iceland
5. New Zealand
6. Canada
7. Finland
8. Denmark
9. Netherlands
10. Australia

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