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Which Countries Are Making The Best Progress On The Sustainable Development Goals?

Would it surprise you one bit if we told you they were in Scandinavia?

  • <p>The 10 countries that have made the most progress on the SDGS:<br />
1: Sweden</p>
  • <p>2: Denmark</p>
  • <p>3: Norway</p>
  • <p>4: Finland</p>
  • <p>5: Switzerland</p>
  • <p>6: Germany</p>
  • <p>7: Austria</p>
  • <p>8: Netherlands</p>
  • <p>9: Iceland</p>
  • <p>10: United Kingdom</p>
  • 01 /10

    The 10 countries that have made the most progress on the SDGS:
    1: Sweden

  • 02 /10

    2: Denmark

  • 03 /10

    3: Norway

  • 04 /10

    4: Finland

  • 05 /10

    5: Switzerland

  • 06 /10

    6: Germany

  • 07 /10

    7: Austria

  • 08 /10

    8: Netherlands

  • 09 /10

    9: Iceland

  • 10 /10

    10: United Kingdom

Last summer, 193 countries came together in New York to agree on 17 Sustainable Development Goals, covering everything from ending poverty to achieving gender equality. The successors to the Millennium Goals, the SDGs aim to put the world on the path to prosperity, ecological balance, and universal well-being by a deadline of 2030.

So, how well are the countries doing so far? A new index from the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Bertelsmann Stiftung foundation, in Germany, provides a granular look. Covering 77 indicators in all, it ranks 149 countries, from Sweden in first place, to the Central African Republic in last (data for the other 50 or so countries wasn't available).

The countries are ranked according to their "technically feasible target" and the principle of "leaving no one behind." So, for poverty (SDG 1), that means no one in a country living on less than $1.25 a day (in today's money). Sweden gets an overall index score of 84.5 because the index says it's 84.5% toward its best possible outcome across all the categories. Denmark and Norway are the next best performing countries (the top 12 are all European), with Canada in 13th (76.%).

The U.S. is ranked 25th with a score of 72.71%, which places us between Hungary and the Slovak Republic. We have nobody living in extreme poverty, but we only get 88% for hunger (SDG 2), 80% for health and well-being (SDG 3), 74% for gender equality (SDG 5), and 59% for "reducing inequality" (SDG 10). The Russian Federation is in 47th place, while China is in 76th.

Look up all the countries here, starting with the Index map, followed by these Dashboards. The latter show each country's progress on each goal colored as green (already achieved) yellow ("caution lane"), or red ("seriously far from achievement").

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[Cover Photo: Cristian Wahlén/EyeEm/Getty Images. Flags: via Shutterstock]

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