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U.S. underperforms in meeting basic needs of its citizenry.

Written by Diane Archer

According to the 2015 Social Progress Index, the U.S. has a lot of work to do in meeting basic needs of Americans relative to other countries. The Social Progress Index ranks 133 countries based on their quality of life and social progress. Norway, Sweden and Switzerland are at the top of the pack, ranking first, second and third in social progress respectively. The United States ranks only 16th, directly behind Austria, Germany and Japan.

The Social Progress Index reveals that the United States is underperforming on social progress–including on health and wellness, nutrition and basic medical care–relative to peer countries of similar income.  We rank 68th overall on health and wellness and 39th on nutrition and basic medical care.

What goes into the health and wellness assessment?  The researchers determine whether the citizens of a country lead long and healthy lives. On life expectancy, the U.S. ranks 30th.  On premature deaths from non-communicable diseases, the U.S. ranks 35th ; on the obesity rate, the U.S. ranks almost at the very bottom at 126th.  And, on the suicide rate, we rank 86th.

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