Sri Lanka ranked 85th out of 132 countries, the top performer in the region on Social Progress Index 2014, a new global index released Thursday by a U.S.-based nonprofit, The Social Progress Imperative (SPI).
The global Index created by a team of Harvard Business School ranked 132 countries over three categories: Basic Human Needs, Foundations of Wellbeing, and Opportunity.
Basic Human Needs, assesses how well a country provides for its people's essential needs and the Foundations of Wellbeing assesses whether the building blocks are in place for individuals and communities to enhance and sustain wellbeing. The third, Opportunity, measures the degree to which a country's population is free of restrictions on its rights and its people are able to make their own personal decisions. Over 50 indicators were used to measure outcomes in each category.
Of issues covered by the Basic Human Needs Dimension, Sri Lanka does best in areas including Nutrition and Basic Medical Care and has the greatest opportunity to improve human wellbeing by focusing more on Personal Safety, the researchers concluded.
Of issues covered by the Foundations of Wellbeing Dimension, Sri Lanka excels at providing building blocks for people's lives such as Access to Basic Knowledge but would benefit from greater investment in Access to Information and Communications.
Of issues covered by the Opportunity Dimension, Sri Lanka outperforms in providing opportunities for people to improve their position in society and scores highly in Personal Freedom and Choice yet falls short in Personal Rights, the report concluded.
In Basic Human Needs Sri Lanka ranked 77th and in Foundations of Wellbeing it was at 74th place while in Opportunity the country ranked at 98th.
Sri Lanka was relatively weak when compared to countries of similar GDP per capita in access to piped water, political terror, mobile telephone subscriptions, press freedom index, suicide rate, water withdrawals as a percent of resource, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom of religion, religious tolerance, and discrimination and violence against minorities.
The Social Progress Index framework synthesizes a large body of research emphasizing the importance of moving "beyond GDP," and identifies the social and environmental elements of performance of societies.
Sri Lanka was the top performer in the South Asia region and the worst performer was Pakistan at 124th rank. Elsewhere in the region, India ranked at 102nd, Nepal 101st, and Bangladesh 99th.
New Zealand took the number one rank, followed by Switzerland and Iceland in the Index while Burundi, Central African Republic, and Chad were at the bottom.