Which are the Best Countries in Europe?

Social and Moral Index
The Best Countries
CountryScore
1Iceland90.7
2Sweden90.2
3Norway89.2
4Denmark88.3
5Finland87.7
6Netherlands84.1
7Luxembourg83.6
8Belgium83.3
9Austria83.1
10Switzerland82.6
World Average58.9
Europe Average74.9
Data Source

Human rights, equality and the rule of law define Europe, and European countries thusly make up most of the top countries on the Social and Moral Index. In "Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice" by Jack Donnelly Europe is described as the leading practical example of the implementation of human rights, where they really are seen as intrinsic rights and not merely liberties1. The European Court of Human Rights is heavily over-subscribed and influential: it answers to the call of the citizens themselves, and only very rarely do governments ignore its rulings2.

There are 57 locations that fall within this category. By adding up all the known populations that fall within these locations, and summing their physical land areas, we can calculate population densities. Some islands and territories can end up being counted twice depending on how they are classified and divided up politically, but, mostly such errors involve only small populations. So, some data on this collection of countries in total:


1. Social and Moral Development Index and Basic Demographics

The Social and Moral Development Index is a formulaic aggregation of many factors. It concentrates on moral issues and human rights, violence, equality, tolerance, freedom and effectiveness in climate change mitigation and environmentalism. A country scores higher for achieving well in those areas, and for sustaining that achievement in the long term. Those countries towards the top of this index can truly said to be setting good examples and leading humankind onwards into a bright, humane, and free future. See: "What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life" by Vexen Crabtree (2013).

CountrySocial & Moral
Development Index
3Higher
is better
Life
Expectancy
Higher
is better
Gross
National
Income PPHigher
is richer
UN's Human
Development
IndexHigher
is better
PopulationLand Areakm2People
Per km2Higher
is worse
1Iceland90.781.9yrs$29 1760.91 328 290 100 2503
2Sweden90.281.6yrs$36 1430.92 9 495 392 410 34023
3Norway89.281.3yrs$48 6880.96 4 960 482 304 25016
4Denmark88.379.0yrs$33 5180.90 5 592 738 42 430132
5Finland87.780.1yrs$32 5100.89 5 402 627 303 89018
6Netherlands84.180.8yrs$37 2820.92 16 714 228 33 730496
7Luxembourg83.680.1yrs$48 2850.88 523 362 2 590202
8Belgium83.380.0yrs$33 4290.90 10 787 788 30 280356
9Austria83.181.0yrs$36 4380.90 8 428 915 82 409102
10Switzerland82.682.5yrs$40 5270.91 7 733 709 40 000193
11Germany82.480.6yrs$35 4310.92 81 990 837 348 570235
12Estonia81.875.0yrs$17 4020.85 1 339 762 42 39032
13Ireland81.180.7yrs$28 6710.92 4 579 498 68 89066
14UK80.980.3yrs$32 5380.88 62 798 099 241 930260
15France80.281.7yrs$30 2770.89 63 457 777 547 660116
16Spain79.681.6yrs$25 9470.88 46 771 596 498 80094
17Andorra79.481.1yrs$33 9180.85 87 518 470186
18Slovakia78.375.6yrs$19 6960.84 5 480 332 48 088114
19Czech Rep.78.277.8yrs$22 0670.87 10 565 678 77 240137
20Lithuania77.172.5yrs$16 8580.82 3 292 454 62 67453
21Portugal76.779.7yrs$19 9070.82 10 699 333 91 470117
22Liechtenstein76.679.8yrs$84 8800.88 36 584 160229
23Slovenia75.679.5yrs$23 9990.89 2 040 057 20 140101
24Latvia75.473.6yrs$14 7240.81 2 234 572 62 20036
25Italy72.782.0yrs$26 1580.88 60 964 145 294 140207
26Poland72.676.3yrs$17 7760.82 38 317 090 304 150126
27Hungary72.274.6yrs$16 0880.83 9 949 589 90 530110
28Albania70.977.1yrs$7 8220.75 3 227 373 27 400118
29Croatia70.476.8yrs$15 4190.80 4 387 376 55 96078
30Greece70.380.0yrs$20 5110.86 11 418 878 128 90089
31Serbia69.874.7yrs$9 5330.77 9 846 582 87 460113
32Cyprus69.879.8yrs$23 8250.85 1 129 166 9 240122
33Bulgaria69.873.6yrs$11 4740.78 7 397 873 108 56068
34Malta68.979.8yrs$21 1840.85 419 212 3201310
35Montenegro68.674.8yrs$10 4710.79 632 796 13 45047
36Romania68.074.2yrs$11 0110.79 21 387 517 230 16093
37Macedonia66.875.0yrs$9 3770.74 2 066 785 25 22082
38Ukraine64.768.8yrs$6 4280.74 44 940 268 579 32078
39Belarus63.770.6yrs$13 3850.79 9 527 498 202 91047
40Bosnia & Herzegovina63.575.8yrs$7 7130.74 3 744 235 51 00073
41Georgia62.573.9yrs$5 0050.74 4 304 363 69 49062
42Armenia62.474.4yrs$5 5400.73 3 108 972 28 480109
43Turkey60.474.2yrs$13 7100.72 74 508 771 769 63097
44Azerbaijan58.170.9yrs$8 1530.73 9 421 233 82 658114
45Moldova56.469.6yrs$3 3190.66 3 519 266 32 854107
World Average58.970.0yrs$12 7030.67 25.74m 536 25448
Europe Average74.977.6yrs$23 2490.83 14.67m 130 702112
Data Source

Not showing due to lack of data: Aland Islands, The Channel Islands, The Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Guernsey, The Isle of Man, Jersey, Kosovo, Monaco, San Marino, Svalbard and Vatican City. This page only shows places where the database has enough data to be able to come to reasonable conclusions about each place. The main focus is on nation states, but, some distinct external territories may be listed if the database has enough information about them. Averages are calculated from as many valid data points as possible, meaning, that some territories and locations that are not listed above may still be used to calculate some of the average values. Some calculations only use Independent State data - hover the cursor over values to see hints.

Links:

2. Human Rights and Moral Development

CountrySocial & Moral
Development Index
3Higher
is better
Gender
Inequality4Lower
is better
Human Rights
Treaties5Higher
is better
Press
Freedom6Higher
is better
LGBT
Equality
7Higher
is better
1Iceland90.70.092091.5220
2Sweden90.20.052390.8255
3Norway89.20.062093.5210
4Denmark88.30.062292.9225
5Finland87.70.081993.685
6Netherlands84.10.041993.5405
7Luxembourg83.60.151993.3165
8Belgium83.30.102287.1350
9Austria83.10.102290.645
10Switzerland82.60.061990.190
11Germany82.40.082389.8100
12Estonia81.80.161790.725
13Ireland81.10.121989.945
14UK80.90.211983.1130
15France80.20.082178.4195
16Spain79.60.102379.5245
17Andorra79.41593.2210
18Slovakia78.30.172086.835
19Czech Rep.78.20.122089.880
20Lithuania77.10.161881.830
21Portugal76.70.112083.2135
22Liechtenstein76.62092.735
23Slovenia75.60.082379.570
24Latvia75.40.221677.125
25Italy72.70.092273.9115
26Poland72.60.142086.9115
27Hungary72.20.262073.935
28Albania70.90.252069.130
29Croatia70.40.182273.490
30Greece70.30.141971.545
31Serbia69.82373.430
32Cyprus69.80.132086.225
33Bulgaria69.80.222071.440
34Malta68.90.241876.725
35Montenegro68.62167.030
36Romania68.00.332076.950
37Macedonia66.80.162065.720
38Ukraine64.70.342063.220
39Belarus63.71651.710
40Bosnia & Herzegovina63.52173.125
41Georgia62.50.442069.925
42Armenia62.40.341772.020
43Turkey60.40.371753.4100
44Azerbaijan58.10.322152.310
45Moldova56.40.301874.025
World Average58.90.3815.167.5-7
Europe Average74.90.1719.579.687

Europe has an excellent record on women's rights and gender equality. The biases of the male-dominated past have largely come to an end. The battle isn't over, but, there is nowhere else in the world where the spurious prejudices of human culture have been so diminished in the realm of gender.

There is indeed a broad consensus throughout Europe to ensure men and women can access contraception, safe abortion services and reproductive healthcare and information on sexuality. This is the basis upon which people can make free and fair choices about their family life and composition.

NSS (2015)8

3. Religion and Beliefs

Over the last 60 years, religion in Europe has seen a strong decline. On average throughout the 27 EU countries, only half of its people believe in God9 and 25.4% directly say that they have no religion10. There is much variation from country to country. Only 16% of the populace of Estonia believe in God and the Scandinavian countries are highly atheist. But 95% believe in Malta. Two main social groups are particularly prone to belief in God; those over 55 years old and those whose education did not proceed beyond the 15-year-old stage.9. For a discussion on secularisation in general, see: "Secularisation Theory: Will Modern Society Reject Religion? What is Secularism?" by Vexen Crabtree

Despite the low rate of belief in God, many Europeans still claim to belong to theistic religions. 49.5% of the population of Europe say they are Catholic Christian, 15.7% say they're Muslim, 12.7% say they're Protestant Christian, 8.6% say they're Orthodox Christian and 0.4% say they are Jewish10. These numbers mean that at least 30% of Europeans are putting down a religion despite not believing in the very basic first principal of the religion they put down. This is because most people in Europe confuse religion and cultural heritage. For a discussion of this, see: "Institutionalized Religions Have Their Numbers Inflated by National Polls" by Vexen Crabtree.

Disbelief
in God
(2004)11
Religiosity
(2009)12
Jews
(2010)13
Christians
(2010)13
Muslims
(2010)13
Hindus
(2010)13
Buddhists
(2010)13
Folk
Religion
(2010)13
Unaffiliated
(2010)13
Aland Islands
Albania8%39%0.1%18.0%80.3%0.1%0.1%0.1%1.4%
Andorra0.3%89.5%0.8%0.5%0.1%0.1%8.8%
Armenia14%73%0.1%98.5%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%1.3%
Austria18%0.2%80.4%5.4%0.1%0.2%0.1%13.5%
Azerbaijan0%50%0.1%3.0%96.9%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%
Belarus17%34%0.1%71.2%0.2%0.1%0.1%0.1%28.6%
Belgium43%0.3%64.2%5.9%0.1%0.2%0.2%29.0%
Bosnia & Herzegovina77%0.1%52.3%45.2%0.1%0.1%0.1%2.5%
Bulgaria34%0.1%82.1%13.7%0.1%0.1%0.1%4.2%
Channel Islands0.1%85.2%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%14.2%
Croatia7%70%0.1%93.4%1.4%0.1%0.1%0.1%5.1%
Cyprus75%0.1%73.2%25.3%0.1%0.2%0.1%1.2%
Czech Rep.61%0.1%23.3%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%76.4%
Denmark48%19%0.1%83.5%4.1%0.4%0.2%0.1%11.8%
Estonia49%16%0.1%39.9%0.2%0.1%0.1%0.1%59.6%
Faroe Islands0.1%98.0%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%1.7%
Finland28%0.1%81.6%0.8%0.1%0.1%0.1%17.6%
France44%30%0.5%63.0%7.5%0.1%0.5%0.3%28.0%
Georgia4%81%0.1%88.5%10.7%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.7%
Germany42%40%0.3%68.7%5.8%0.1%0.3%0.1%24.7%
Gibraltar2.1%88.8%4.0%1.8%0.1%0.1%2.9%
Greece16%71%0.1%88.1%5.3%0.1%0.1%0.1%6.1%
Guernsey
Hungary32%39%0.1%81.0%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%18.6%
Iceland16%0.1%95.0%0.2%0.3%0.4%0.5%3.5%
Ireland5%54%0.1%92.0%1.1%0.2%0.2%0.2%6.2%
Isle of Man0.1%84.1%0.2%0.2%0.1%0.1%15.4%
Italy6%72%0.1%83.3%3.7%0.1%0.2%0.1%12.4%
Jersey
Kosovo90%0.1%11.4%87.0%0.1%0.1%0.1%1.6%
Latvia20%39%0.1%55.8%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%43.8%
Liechtenstein0.1%91.9%5.0%0.1%0.1%0.1%2.9%
Lithuania13%42%0.1%89.8%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%10.0%
Luxembourg39%0.1%70.4%2.3%0.1%0.1%0.1%26.8%
Macedonia76%0.1%59.3%39.3%0.1%0.1%0.1%1.4%
Malta86%0.1%97.0%0.2%0.2%0.1%0.1%2.5%
Moldova6%72%0.6%97.4%0.6%0.1%0.1%0.1%1.4%
Monaco1.7%86.0%0.4%0.1%0.1%0.1%11.7%
Montenegro71%0.1%78.1%18.7%0.1%0.1%0.1%3.2%
Netherlands42%0.2%50.6%6.0%0.5%0.2%0.2%42.1%
Norway31%0.1%84.7%3.7%0.5%0.6%0.1%10.1%
Poland3%75%0.1%94.3%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%5.6%
Portugal4%0.1%93.8%0.6%0.1%0.6%0.5%4.4%
Romania4%84%0.1%99.0%0.3%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%
San Marino0.3%91.6%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%7.2%
Serbia54%0.1%92.5%4.2%0.1%0.1%0.1%3.3%
Slovakia17%0.1%85.3%0.2%0.1%0.1%0.1%14.3%
Slovenia35%47%0.1%78.4%3.6%0.1%0.1%0.1%18.0%
Spain15%49%0.1%78.6%2.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%19.0%
Svalbard
Sweden64%17%0.1%67.2%4.6%0.2%0.4%0.2%27.0%
Switzerland17%41%0.3%81.3%5.5%0.4%0.4%0.1%11.9%
Turkey82%0.1%0.4%98.0%0.1%0.1%0.1%1.2%
UK42%27%0.5%71.1%4.4%1.3%0.4%0.3%21.3%
Ukraine20%46%0.1%83.8%1.2%0.1%0.1%0.1%14.7%
Vatican City0.1%99.0%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%
World Averages9.9%75.1%0.5%60.6%22.4%2.0%3.5%2.7%7.9%
Europe Averages23.6%55.2%0.2%74.7%11.5%0.2%0.2%0.1%13.2%
Data Source
Links:

More on religion in Europe:

4. The European Union (EU)14

By Vexen Crabtree 2013 Nov 06
(Last Modified: 2015 Mar 25)
http://www.humantruth.info/europe.html
Parent page: Compare International Statistics by Region and Continent

Social Media

References: (What's this?)

Book Cover

Crabtree, Vexen
(2013) "What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life" (2013). Accessed 2015 Apr 08.

Donnelly, Jack
(2013) Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice. Third edition. Published by Cornell University Press.

Gallup
(2009) Religiosity. gallup.com/poll/142727/.... The survey question was "Is religion an important part of your daily life?" and results are charted for those who said "yes". 1000 adults were polled in each of 114 countries.

Lynn, Harvey & Nyborg
(2009) Average intelligence predicts atheism rates across 137 nations. Richard Lynn, John Harvey and Helmuth Nyborg article "Average intelligence predicts atheism rates across 137 nations" in Intelligence (2009 Jan/Feb) vol. 37 issue 1 pages 11-15. Online at www.sciencedirect.com, accessed 2009 Sep 15.

Pew Forum. Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
(2012) The Global Religious Landscape: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Major Religious Groups as of 2010. Published 2012 Dec 18, accessed online 2013 May 01.

United Nations
(2013) Human Development Report. This edition had the theme of The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World. Published on the United Nation's HDR website at hdr.undp.org/.../hdr2013/ (accessed throughout 2013). UN Development Program: About the Human Development Index.

Footnotes

  1. Donnelly (2013) p67. Added to this page on 2014 Oct 07.^
  2. Donnelly (2013) p32. Added to this page on 2014 Oct 07.^
  3. The Social and Moral Index by Vexen Crabtree (As of 2015 Apr 08).^^
  4. United Nations Human Development Report (UN HDR) 2013. Table 4 (Gender Inequality Index).^
  5. Nominal Commitment to Human Rights report published by UCL, London, UK, at ucl.ac.uk/spp/research/research-projects/nchr accessed 2011 Apr 30.^
  6. Reporters Without Borders Report "2013 World Press Freedom Index: Dashed hopes after spring" at fr.rsf.org/.../classement_2013_gb-bd.pdf accessed 2013 Feb.^
  7. LGBT sources:^
  8. National Secular Society (2015) article "Religious lobbying threatens European Parliament vote on gender equality" (2015 Mar 08).^
  9. "Eurobarometer 225: Social values, Science & Technology". Published by Eurostat (2005) for the European Commission. Accessed 2008 Sep 01.^
  10. National Secular Society newsletter (2007 Mar 02), which included commentary on a Eurostat (2007) publication.^
  11. Zuckerman, P. (2007). Atheism: contemporary numbers and patterns. In M.Martin (Ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Atheism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. In "Average intelligence predicts atheism rates across 137 nations" by Lynn et al. (2009).^
  12. Gallup (2009).^
  13. Pew Forum (2011) - data for 2010.^
  14. Added to this page on 2013 Nov 09.^

© 2015 Vexen Crabtree. All rights reserved.