The Human Truth Foundation

Which are the Best Countries in the World? The Social and Moral Development Index

By Vexen Crabtree 2023

#human_development #politics #social_development

--- The Best ---1
Pos.Lower is better
Avg Rank1
6New Zealand34.0
--- The Worst ---1
Pos.Higher is worse
Avg Rank1
194S. Sudan140.3
192Equatorial Guinea135.0
189Central African Rep.131.6
186Congo, DR128.2

Which countries set the best examples to the rest of the world? Which ones would we do best to copy, to emulate and to admire for their foresight, hard work and long-term conscience? Which countries would have humanity survive gleaming into a clean, happy, bright future?

And who are tardy on humanitarian issues, science or development? Which nations and cultures cling to barbarian ethics on gender and sexual equality? Who is holding us back?

The Social and Moral Development Index is a compilation of relevant statistics on a wide range of issues which are put into a database-driven formula which calculates points per country. The country's overall score is an average of all the datasets that a country appears in. So, countries don't get penalized for lack of data about them.

The result is a shortlist of countries that beat all the others. Be the best!

1. The Criteria: Human Rights & Tolerance

Human Rights & Tolerance

Overall Results:
Best: Sweden, Norway, Denmark
Regions: Scandinavia, Baltic States and Europe2
Worst: Solomon Islands, Somalia, Tuvalu
Regions: Melanesia, Micronesia and Australasia2
Constituent Data Sets: Human Rights & Tolerance
1. Human Rights Watch CommentsBest: France, Germany, UK
Worst: 10-country draw
2. Nominal Commitment to HRBest: Argentina, 12-country draw
Worst: Kiribati, Bhutan, 4-country draw
3. HR Treaties LagBest: Ecuador, Uruguay, Tunisia
Worst: Palestine, Marshall Islands, Palau
4. Personal, Civil & Economic FreedomBest: Hong Kong, Switzerland, New Zealand
Worst: Libya, Yemen, Iran
5. Press FreedomBest: Finland, Netherlands, Norway
Worst: Eritrea, N. Korea, Turkmenistan
6. SlaveryBest: Japan, Canada, Taiwan
Worst: N. Korea, Eritrea, Burundi
Constituent Data Sets: Gender Equality
7. Gender InequalityBest: Switzerland, Denmark, Netherlands
Worst: Yemen, Niger, Chad
8. Gender BiasesBest: Sweden, New Zealand, Australia
Worst: Tajikistan, Qatar, Pakistan
9. Year Women Can VoteBest: New Zealand, Australia, Finland
Worst: Saudi Arabia, Vatican City, Kuwait
Constituent Data Sets: Prejudice
10. Anti-Semite OpinionsBest: Laos, Philippines, Sweden
Worst: Iraq, Yemen, 2-country draw
11. LGBT EqualityBest: Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden
Worst: Syria, Somalia, Saudi Arabia
12. Freedom of ThoughtBest: Taiwan, Belgium, Netherlands
Worst: 4-country draw
> > > Details and Commentary on these data sets

2. The Criteria: Health


Overall Results:
Best: Monaco, Hong Kong, Maldives
Regions: Scandinavia, Asia and The Mediterranean3
Worst: Marshall Islands, S. Sudan, Palau
Regions: Micronesia, Australasia and Africa3
Constituent Data Sets: Health
1. Life ExpectancyBest: Monaco, Hong Kong, Japan
Worst: Chad, Nigeria, Lesotho

2010s: Monaco, Hong Kong, Japan, Lesotho, Chad, Nigeria

2000s: Monaco, Andorra, Japan, Swaziland, Lesotho, Zimbabwe

1990s: Andorra, Japan, San Marino, S. Sudan, Rwanda, Sierra Leone

2. Alcohol ConsumptionBest: 5-country draw
Worst: Moldova, Lithuania, Czechia
3. Fertility RateBest: Hong Kong, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Malta
Worst: Niger, Somalia, Zambia
4. Smoking RatesBest: Guinea, Solomon Islands, Kiribati
Worst: Montenegro, Belarus, Lebanon
5. Suicide RateBest: Grenada, Haiti, Egypt
Worst: Lithuania, Russia, S. Korea
6. Food Aid, Health Contributions & WHO ComplianceBest: Sweden, Ireland, Denmark
Worst: Angola, St Vincent & Grenadines, Mauritania
7. Overweight AdultsBest: Vietnam, India, Bangladesh
Worst: Nauru, Palau, Cook Islands
Constituent Data Sets: Children's Health
8. Adolescent Birth RateBest: N. Korea, S. Korea, Switzerland
Worst: Niger, Mali, Angola
9. Infant Immunizations 2011-2015Best: China, Hungary, Uzbekistan
Worst: Equatorial Guinea, S. Sudan, Somalia
> > > Details and Commentary on these data sets

3. The Criteria: The Environment

The Environment

Overall Results:
Best: Japan, Philippines, Uruguay
Regions: Scandinavia, South America and Central America
Worst: Eritrea, Palestine, Gabon
Regions: Baltic States, Micronesia and The Balkans
Constituent Data Sets: The Environment
1. Forest Area Change 1990-2015Best: Iceland, Bahrain, Uruguay
Worst: Togo, Nigeria, Uganda
2. Environmental PerformanceBest: Switzerland, France, Denmark
Worst: Burundi, Bangladesh, Congo, DR
3. Energy to GDP EfficiencyBest: Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Panama
Worst: Serbia, Trinidad & Tobago, Zimbabwe
4. Convention on Biological DiversityBest: 30-country draw
Worst: Vatican City, USA, Andorra
5. Rational Beliefs on the EnvironmentBest: Argentina, Greece, Brazil
Worst: Turkmenistan, Albania, Haiti
6. Meat ConsumptionBest: Congo, DR, Burundi, Bangladesh
Worst: Hong Kong, USA, Nauru

2010s: Burundi, Congo, DR, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Australia, USA

7. Green Future IndexBest: Iceland, Finland, Norway
Worst: Iran, Algeria, Zambia
> > > Details and Commentary on these data sets

4. The Criteria: Modernity and Education

Modernity and Education

Overall Results:
Best: Finland, Taiwan, Switzerland
Regions: Scandinavia, Baltic States and Europe
Worst: Eritrea, Sierra Leone, S. Sudan
Regions: Melanesia, Africa and Micronesia
Constituent Data Sets: Modernity and Education
1. Research and DevelopmentBest: S. Korea, Israel, Japan
Worst: Lesotho, 3-country draw
2. Secondary EducationBest: 6-country draw
Worst: Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso
3. Length of SchoolingBest: Australia, New Zealand, Greece
Worst: S. Sudan, Niger, Mali

2010s: Australia, Belgium, Iceland, S. Sudan, Niger, Djibouti

2000s: Australia, Belgium, Iceland, Niger, Djibouti, Burkina Faso

1990s: Australia, Canada, Belgium, Niger, Djibouti, Ethiopia

4. Intellectual EndeavoursBest: Ukraine, Czechia, Hungary
Worst: Angola, Iraq, Bolivia
5. Maths, Science & ReadingBest: Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan
Worst: Dominican Rep., Algeria, Kosovo
6. ReligiosityBest: China, Estonia, Czechia
Worst: Ethiopia, Senegal, 2-country draw
7. IQBest: Singapore, Hong Kong, S. Korea
Worst: 6-country draw
Constituent Data Sets: Technology and Information
8. Internet UsersBest: Iceland, Faroe Islands, Norway
Worst: Eritrea, Timor-Leste (E. Timor), Burundi
9. Freedom On The InternetBest: Estonia, USA, Germany
Worst: Iran, Cuba, China
10. IT SecurityBest: Belize, Ireland, Luxembourg
Worst: USA, Russia, India
11. IPv6 UptakeBest: Belgium, Germany, Switzerland
Worst: 59-country draw
> > > Details and Commentary on these data sets

5. The Criteria: National Culture

National Culture

Constituent Data Sets: National Culture
1. World Giving IndexBest: Indonesia, Kenya, USA
Worst: Cambodia, Japan, 2-country draw

2010s: Myanmar (Burma), USA, New Zealand, China, Greece, Yemen

2. CorruptionBest: Denmark, Finland, New Zealand
Worst: Somalia, S. Sudan, Syria

2010s: Denmark, New Zealand, Finland, Somalia, N. Korea, Afghanistan

2000s: Finland, Denmark, New Zealand, Somalia, Myanmar (Burma), Bangladesh

1990s: Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Nigeria, Honduras, Paraguay

3. HappinessBest: Finland, Norway, Denmark
Worst: Burundi, Central African Rep., S. Sudan
4. Creativity and CultureBest: Belgium, Netherlands, Estonia
Worst: Libya, Congo, DR, Rwanda
5. Open Trading, Aid and DevelopmentBest: Ireland, Denmark, Sweden
Worst: Equatorial Guinea, Brazil, Papua New Guinea
Constituent Data Sets: Peace Versus Instability
6. Global Peace IndexBest: Iceland, Denmark, Ireland
Worst: Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria

2010s: Iceland, Denmark, Austria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia

7. Peacekeeping and SecurityBest: Samoa, S. Africa, Tunisia
Worst: Guinea-Bissau, Marshall Islands, Tonga
8. Refugees and UN TreatiesBest: Austria, Germany, Netherlands
Worst: Brunei, Tonga, Fiji
9. Impact of TerrorismBest: 13-country draw
Worst: Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria
Constituent Data Sets: Economic Inequality and Poverty
10. Inequality in Life ExpectancyInformational only
11. Income Inequality (Gini Coefficient)Best: Ukraine, Belarus, Slovenia
Worst: S. Africa, Namibia, Zambia
12. Multidimensional PovertyBest: Armenia, Ukraine, Serbia
Worst: Niger, S. Sudan, Chad
> > > Details and Commentary on these data sets

6. Results: All Countries From Best to Worst

For a complete list of results, see: What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life.

7. Methodology

The Social and Moral Development Index combines a large number of data sets into a single formula. It's not a simplistic ranking system - for most data sets, each country is given points according to where it sits on the scale ranging from the best country, to the worst country, on a scalar (and not linear) basis. The worst country in any given data set gets 0 points, and the best gets 100 points, and everyone else gets a portion of those points according to how close to the top they sit. It pays to be as good as possible. The points are not summed to form a total, because this would unfairly give advantages to countries that appear in most data sets - most data are not fully comprehensive. Each country gains a final score which is an average of its points from all datasets.

When it comes to presenting the results, charts show the best 5 countries marked with a green number, and the worst 5 marked with a red one. If there is a tie, then, the markers extend for as long as the tie continues. Sometimes the actual points are calculated to many significant figures, but, the results are only shown for 3 s.f. and in these cases, it might look like the flags do not extend enough. To view the data in more detail hover over any row to view the precise points awarded.