Finland is the most socially progressive country in the world, new study reveals

The United Kingdom came ninth in the social progress initiative, with the United States coming 19th

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Finland is the most socially progressive country in the world while the war torn Central African Republic is the least progressive, a new study has found.

The Scandinavian country scored highest of the 133 countries ranked in an index by the Social Progress Initiative on the extent to which the country fulfilled the social and environmental needs of its citizens.

Finland was followed by Canada, Denmark, Australia, Switzerland with the United Kingdom coming ninth and the United States 19th.

While richer nations tend to rate higher than poorer ones, the Unites States bucked the trend. It has a higher GDP than Finland and Canada, but is found much lower on the index.

The Central African Republic, which is suffering from deeply engrained ethnic and political rivalries, was joined at the bottom of the list by Afghanistan, Chad, Angola and Niger.

The executive director of the Social Progress Initiative, Michael Green said: "Our data shows that economic growth is generally a good thing. 

"It’s just not the whole story, and especially when it comes to issues like tolerance, it does seem that just by getting richer, we are not going to make much progress in making our societies tolerant. 

"What we need are other solutions, other policies, and that’s a challenge for rich and poor countries."

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