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Prosperity index ranks Canada 5th in world

11/03/2014 12:08 EST | Updated 01/03/2015 05:59 EST
Canada ranks No. 5 on an international prosperity index produced by the Legatum Institute of London that combines measures of economic progress, health, opportunity and personal freedom.

Canada is behind countries such as Norway, which tops the list for a second year, Switzerland, New Zealand and Denmark, but ahead of Australia, the U.S., U.K. and Germany. The prosperity index ranks 142 countries, with Chad and Central African Republic at the bottom of the list.

Canada has slipped one position from the ranking of fourth it achieved last year, after receiving lower marks in social capital, a measure of civic engagement including how many people have volunteered, donated to charity or helped a stranger.

New Zealand moved ahead of Canada, up two places to No. 3 on the index, after showing high levels of social capital and an improved economy.

Noted Canadian tolerance

Canada climbed from its lower rankings of sixth and seventh in 2011 and 2010 after coming through the financial crisis relatively unscathed, the institute’s report said.

The index noted Canada’s tolerance, with 92 per cent of people saying they have the freedom to choose the course of their own lives, socially and economically.

Canada also was among the freest countries economically, along with the U.S., U.K., Switzerland, New Zealand and Australia.

The U.S. ranked No. 10 on the index, with a big improvement in 2014 on its economic prosperity as unemployment fell and business optimism improved. But it fell five places on the personal freedom index after revelations of internet and phone tracking by the government and a chill among immigrants trying to get a start in the U.S.

The U.K. was at No. 13, but the report noted an unusually strong climate for small business in the country.

China has jumped to sixth on the economic prosperity index, but still ranks at No. 54 overall because of its poor showing in personal freedoms.

Among the biggest losers on the index was Russia, which at No. 68 is the lowest-ranking country in Europe, after invading Ukraine. Syria fell in the rankings because of its civil war and Venezuela dropped because of rampant inflation.

The prosperity index includes 89 variables for each country, based on the world Gallup poll, standard measures of GDP per capita and OECD and World Bank measures of well-being. 

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