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Cyprus ranks high in ‘social index’, but scores low in ‘shelter’ and environment

CYPRUS ranked 27th in the Social Progress Index, a twelve-pronged assessment of social progress per country globally, according to American non-profit Social Progress Imperative’s annual report for 2016.

The report found Finland to be the most socially progressive country, with Canada trailing and Denmark, Australia, and Switzerland making up the top-five.

Excluding nations not ranked due to insufficient data, the Central African Republic ranked dead last, with Afghanistan, Chad, Angola, and Niger, comprising the bottom-five list.

Countries are rated in twelve sectors – broadly falling under three “dimensions of social progress”: ‘basic human needs’; ‘foundations of wellbeing’; and ‘opportunity’ – formed by aggregation of grades in more particular sub-categories, 53 in all, which produce average percentile scores.

Cyprus scored an overall average of 80.75 per cent, ranking 27th out of 162 countries.

The report said Cyprus scored best on ‘basic human needs’, clocking a perfect 100 on ‘water and sanitation’ and 99.45 on ‘nutrition and basic medical care’, but has “most opportunity to improve” on ‘personal safety’ – 84.56 – and ‘shelter’, on which it scored 81.99.

‘Shelter’ was also flagged as an area in which Cyprus showed a “relative weakness” compared with other countries of similar per-capita GDP. In particular, the two sub-categories under ‘shelter’ flagged as a relative weakness were ‘availability of affordable housing’ and ‘quality of electricity supply’.

Overall, Cyprus scored 91.50 on ‘basic human needs’.

In ‘foundations of wellbeing’, Cyprus scored an overall average of 82.12, thanks, in part, to its poor ‘environmental quality’ assessment of 69.63, as well as a 75.50 score on ‘health and wellness’.

In contrast, it fared best on ‘access to information and communications’, with 84.50, and ‘access to basic knowledge’, with 98.67.

The ‘opportunity’ heading was Cyprus’ weakest showing, scoring an average 68.63.

The island netted a respectable 93.18 on ‘personal rights’, but all three remaining categories were flagged as “relative weaknesses” – ‘personal freedom and choice’, with a score of 68.00, ‘access to advanced education’, at 65.02, and a below-base score of 48.30 on ‘tolerance and inclusion’.

Eight of nineteen individual scoring categories under ‘opportunity’ were flagged as relative weaknesses, including ‘religious tolerance’, ‘tolerance for immigrants’, ‘discrimination and violence against minorities’, and ‘number of globally ranked universities’. One, ‘freedom of speech’, was marked as a “relative strength”.

More info on the 2016 SPI can be found at http://www.socialprogressimperative.org/global-index/.

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