Guyana has been ranked 82nd out of 132 countries in a social index report, far below Trinidad and Jamaica, the two other Caricom countries monitored.
The 2014 Social Progress Index is the second one presented by the Social Progress Imperative, a non-governmental group created in the US in 2012. Jamaica was ranked at 43 and Trinidad at 47. The top three countries were New Zealand, Switzerland and Iceland. Chad placed last.
The report said that of the issues covered by the Basic Human Needs Dimension, Guyana does best in areas including nutrition and basic medical care. It also stated that Guyana has the greatest opportunity to better human wellbeing by focusing more on personal safety.
Of the areas covered by the Foundations of Wellbeing Dimension, the report said that Guyana performs excellently at providing building blocks for people’s lives such as access to basic knowledge but would profit from greater investment in ecosystem sustainability.
Of issues addressed by the Opportunity Dimension, the report said that Guyana outperforms in offering opportunities for people to advance their position in society and scores highly in personal freedom and choice but falls short in access to advanced education.
In the category of Foundations of Wellbeing 58.36, Guyana had its worst ranking, 101st out of 132. This was primarily because of the low ecosystem ranking but it also addressed a host of other areas including the suicide rate.
Guyana’s personal safety score was 49.84 out of 100 and considered issues such as the homicide rate, level of violent crime, perceived criminality, political terror and traffic deaths. Ecosystem Sustainability scored 31.14 out of 100 and looked at issues such as Greenhouse gas emissions, water withdrawals as a percent of resources and biodiversity and habitat. Access to Advanced Education was ranked at 36.64 out of 100 and considered years of tertiary schooling, women’s average years in school, inequality in the attainment of education and the number of globally ranked universities.
Guyana’s highest rankings were in relation to Access to Basic Knowledge at 87.96 out of 100, Nutrition and Basic Medical Care at 85.01 out of 100 and water and sanitation at 81.32 out of 100.
In its discussion of the pillars of the index, the report said that Foundations of Wellbeing rises less sharply with escalating GDP per capita than the other two dimensions. It found that the Foundations of Wellbeing notably begins to level out at relatively low levels of GDP and increases only slightly for high income countries. This lower rate of increase in Foundations of Wellbeing scores with rising income may be attributable to the fact that economic progress results in new challenges, such as obesity and environmental degradation, as well as benefits, the report found.