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The Netherlands among the best places to live in the world

Rankings 25 August 2016, 08:00

The 4th edition of the Social Progress Index (SPI) was recently published, revealing the best and worst countries worldwide in terms of the social and environmental health of the population. The Netherlands was ranked 8th overall in the list of 133 countries, improving slightly from the 9th place spot the country held in last year’s edition of the index.

At Saxion University of Applied Sciences in the NetherlandsThe 4th edition of the Social Progress Index (SPI) was recently published, revealing the best and worst countries worldwide in terms of the social and environmental health of the population. The Netherlands was ranked 8th overall in the list of 133 countries, improving slightly from the 9th place spot the country held in last year’s edition of the index.

The SPI indicators

The SPI ranking was created by the Social Progress Imperative network in order to expand the understanding of a country’s progress beyond the standard indicators of economic development such as GDP. Instead, the index evaluates the social and environmental performance of countries and assesses indicators which directly affect human lives.

In 2016, all of the SPI indicators were compiled into three groups:

  • The Basic Human Needs group comprises of social aspects such as nutrition, access to medical care, shelter, personal safety, and water and sanitation.
  • The population’s access to basic knowledge, information and communication, as well as health and wellness and ecosystem sustainability were evaluated in the Foundations of Wellbeing category.
  • The Opportunity group covers a country’s progress in personal rights, freedom, and choice, tolerance and inclusion, and access to advanced education.

The Netherlands’ results

In the 2016 edition of the Social Progress Index the Netherlands received a score of 88.65, placing itself in 8th position worldwide, ahead of countries like the UK, Germany, the USA, Belgium, Spain, and France.

The table below displays the Netherlands’ position per category and details its major strengths and weaknesses:

Basic Human Needs (9th) Foundation of Wellbeing (2nd) Opportunity (11th)
  • water and sanitation (99.26 points)
  • nutrition and basic medical care (99.24)
  • shelter (92.44)
  • personal safety (90.00)
  • access to basic knowledge (99.16)
  • access to information and communication (94.70)
  • ecosystem sustainability (87.21)
  • health and wellness (74.39)
  • personal freedom and choice (89.63)
  • personal rights (87.70)
  • tolerance and inclusion (76.52)
  • access to advanced education (73.54)

The SPI top 10

This year’s edition of the Social Progress Index reaffirmed the top positions of Nordic and Australian countries, while countries located in Middle Asia and Africa mostly occupied the bottom positions in the list.

The top 10 countries were ranked as follows:

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

The complete SPI list and detailed results for each country can be found on the Social Progress Imperative website:

Read also about other ranking achievements of the Netherlands and its universities.

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