Costa Rica leads Latin America in Social Progress Index

April 4, 2014
3 Comments

The average Costa Rican’s quality of life matches that of some European countries, including Spain and Italy, according to a new report that measures a country’s social progress beyond its gross domestic product.

“Costa Rica, an upper middle-income country (GDP per capita of $11,165), has achieved a level of social progress that is close to that of far richer countries such as Italy and Spain,” the report observed.

The 2014 Social Progress Index ranked Costa Rica the top country in Latin America and 25th in the world based on categories like basic human needs (medical care, personal safety, clean water), well being (sustainability, basic education, health) and opportunity (personal rights, tolerance, access to higher education).

“We’re very pleased that we are truly demonstrating that the social policies and institutions we have been cultivating  in Costa Rica for many years are in fact making a great difference,” President Laura Chinchilla said.

Costa Rica scored especially well in nutrition, water and sanitation, and opportunity.

The Social Progress Index argued that gross domestic product alone is not an accurate measurement of a country’s social progress. The group defined social progress as “the capacity of a society to meet the basic human needs of its citizens, establish the building blocks that allow citizens and communities to enhance and sustain the quality of their lives, and create the conditions for all individuals to reach their full potential.”

Uruguay (26) and Chile (30) followed closely behind Costa Rica. The report observed that Latin America as a region tended to show “balanced” social progress, but that personal security concerns weighed down the scores of several countries including Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.

Cuba, which came in at 79 in the world, outranked many countries in the region in fulfilling “basic human needs,” but saw low scores on personal expression and opportunity.

New Zealand ranked first in the world in social progress, according to the index, even outpacing the self-proclaimed land of opportunity, the United States, which ranked 16th.

Chad ranked last of the 132 countries surveyed.

Watch the video below for a full explanation of the index.

 

You may be interested

With Keylor Navas battling injuries, Real Madrid eyes January swoop for Bilbao goalie
Keylor Navas
417 views
Keylor Navas
417 views

With Keylor Navas battling injuries, Real Madrid eyes January swoop for Bilbao goalie

AFP - December 11, 2017

Real Madrid's first foray into the January transfer market will be to snap up Athletic Bilbao's promising goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga,…

Our High Season Print Edition is here! Here’s where to find it
The Tico Times
657 views
The Tico Times
657 views

Our High Season Print Edition is here! Here’s where to find it

Katherine Stanley - December 11, 2017

In the weeks since the relaunch of The Tico Times on Sept. 1, we’ve been hard at work to reconnect…

Bright Lights Boat Parade inaugurates holiday season in Quepos
Events
639 views
Events
639 views

Bright Lights Boat Parade inaugurates holiday season in Quepos

Elizabeth Lang - December 11, 2017

The Bright Lights Boat Parade marked the official kickoff of the holiday season in the Central Pacific town of Quepos…