Ireland ranks 15th in the world for social and environmental progress - but struggles with violent crime
Country needs to improve human wellbeing by focusing on personal safety - Social Progress Index
Ireland fares badly in terms of the incidence of violent crime, when compared to other countries of similar GDP per capita, according to a new global survey.
The Social Progress Index (SPI), published today, rates 132 countries on more than 50 indicators, including health, sanitation, shelter, personal safety, access to information, sustainability, tolerance and inclusion and access to education.
Ireland - with a population of 4,588,798 - ranks 15th - two places behind the United Kingdom, and one place behind Japan.
New Zealand came first in the global index - receiving high scores for personal rights and freedom, internet access and school enrolment.
It was followed in the top 10 by Switzerland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Canada, Finland, Denmark and Australia.
Ireland country fared best in areas including water and sanitation. However, it has the greatest opportunity to improve human wellbeing by focusing more on personal safety, the findings show.
Personal Safety - How Ireland fares on the SPI list:
Ireland excels at providing building blocks for people's lives such as "access to basic knowledge".
However, it would benefit from greater investment in "ecosystem sustainability".
Ireland outperforms in providing opportunities for people to improve their position in society and scores highly in personal rights.
But it falls short in access to advanced education.
The SPI is an alternative measure of ranking countries by social progress.
It defines social progress as: "The capacity of a society to meet the basic human needs of its citizens, establish the building blocks that allow citizens and communities to enhance and sustain the quality of their lives, and create the conditions for all individuals to reach their full potential."
Compared to countries of similar GDP per capita, Ireland is strong on its tolerance and inclusion - for immigrants, minors and the community.
It also ranks high in gender parity in secondary school enrollment.
It features badly, compared to countries of similar GDP per capita, in terms of the level of violent crime here. It also features badly in terms of communication - specifically internet users.
Some of the world's largest economies did not fare so well. Germany got 12th place, the United Kingdom got 13th, Japan 14th.
The United States was placed 16th, and ranked poorly on health and wellness, access to basic knowledge, with just 92 per cent of children in school.
France lagged Slovenia (18th) and Estonia (19th) and had low scores on sustainability and opportunity, especially tolerance and inclusion.
Italy was in 29th place, due to poor access to advanced education, sustainability and tolerance and inclusion.
China (90th) and India (102nd) ranked poorly, demonstrating that rapid economic growth is not manifesting as better lives for citizens.