We’re ... No. 28? Behind the US slide in global rankings.

Shannon Stapleton/Reuters
Chicago police crime scene tape is posted at the scene of a gun shooting on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, July 26, 2020. The U.S. ranks 95th among nations in homicides per 100,000 people, according to the recently released 2020 Social Progress Index.

From responding to the pandemic to encouraging equality for minorities, the United States is not living up to its billing as the world’s superpower. Its performance on social indicators has been slipping for at least a decade, even though the country has the biggest economy and strongest military.

The U.S., coming No. 28 out of 163 nations in the latest Social Progress Index, ranks behind its peers in categories such as access to quality health care (97), discrimination and violence against minorities (100), and even property rights for women (57).

Europe and Asia have dealt more effectively so far with the coronavirus than has the U.S., whose performance is on par with Brazil. And in the Social Progress Index, released this month, the U.S. was one of only three nations to post a lower score than in 2011. (Brazil and Hungary were the other two.)

Why We Wrote This

Americans have often declared their nation exceptional. Its many strengths include economic might and world-leading universities. Yet global rankings tell a sobering story of backsliding on social progress.

The biggest declines were in categories such as personal safety, personal rights, and inclusiveness. Even the World Happiness Report, an alternative social ranking, suggests Americans are less content than a decade ago.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t bright spots. The U.S. retains a university system that is the envy of the world and top-notch e-government performance communication. And it is making progress in various areas, including on some environmental measures. The pandemic may spur more progress if fewer people have to commute to work. But the first priority now, policy experts say, is a better public-health response to the pandemic.


Johns Hopkins / Social Progress Imperative

Laurent Belsie and Karen Norris/Staff

Editor’s note: As a public service, all our coronavirus coverage is free. No paywall.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to We’re ... No. 28? Behind the US slide in global rankings.
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today