The United States has the strongest economy in the world, but the nation is struggling when it comes to other measures of well-being, a new report confirms.
The U.S. fell to 19th place out of 133 countries on a global ranking of "social progress" released this week by the Social Progress Imperative. The nonpartisan nonprofit aims to look beyond strictly economic measures, particularly GDP, to assess the well-being of a country’s citizens. Its index considers the quality of a population's health, personal safety and education, among other factors. Last year, the U.S. placed 16th on the list.
The relatively poor showing in the rankings is, in a sense, a statistical reflection of the sentiment that's fueled the presidential campaigns of both Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and real estate mogul Donald Trump: While the U.S. economy might be OK and certain people are feeling richer than ever, on the whole many people still feel like something is wrong.
"Certainly the U.S. population has something to be angry about," Michael Green, executive director of the Social Progress Imperative, told The Huffington Post. "The U.S. is performing less well than countries at similar levels of economic development."
The U.S. lagged other strong economies in five specific areas, Green explained:
1. Personal safety: The U.S. has a worse homicide and traffic death rate than other major economies.
2. School systems: The high school dropout rate is a weakness.
3. Health and wellness: The U.S. spends more than any other country on health care, but only ranks 69th in the world for the health of its citizens, said Green. The suicide rate is higher than those other countries; and obesity rates are higher as well.
5. Personal rights: The U.S. did surprisingly badly on this measure, thanks to restrictive laws around labor unions and the right to assemble, Green said.
Here are some factors the index considered.
The U.S., which has the highest GDP in the world and ranks ninth in terms of per capita GDP, placed behind Canada, the U.K., Germany, Japan and France and several other major economies on the list.
Indeed, the U.S. underperforms on social progress relative to GDP, as do countries like Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Russia.
Here's the list of the top 10 countries on the index: