Croatia is a highly inclusive nation, according to just-released research from the Othering & Belonging Institute at the University of California, Berkeley. The ranking comes out of the Institute’s fourth-annual Inclusiveness Index, the only index of its kind that ranks 132 countries according to the degree to which they achieve holistic inclusivity across group identities, including race, ethnicity, religion, gender, disability, and sexual orientation.
The Netherlands, Sweden, and Norway took the top spots in the 2019 Inclusiveness Index, with states as diverse as Ecuador, Lesotho, and Albania also ranking in the highest category. Indicators that are measured in the index prioritize laws and policies over investments drawn from economic growth, allowing poorer nations to fare just as well or better than wealthier counterparts. Countries that rank highly in inclusivity provide greater access to power and resources to groups that span salient social cleavages.
“The Index helps us see not only how countries are faring relative to each other, but also how they are doing over time,” says co-author Samir Gambhir. “India, for example, has moved lower in our ranking since 2016, likely in part due to deteriorating religious cohesion, increased gender-based discrimination, and declining political representation for minority communities.”
In addition to ranking nations and US states, researchers also highlighted stories and issues in the world today that are promoting or challenging inclusion. Earlier versions of this report highlighted the global migration crisis and the #MeToo movement, while the 2019 report spotlights the disturbing and increasingly apparent ways that social media platforms are manipulated to spread hate and fear. Among other issues, the report delves into the ways in which state and non-state actors have spread propaganda and inflamed reactions through false stories—with deadly consequences.
The report also highlights where the US—as well as all 50 states and the District of Columbia—is struggling and where it is doing well with regards to social inclusion. Researchers highlight anti-transgender violence, corruption, and democratic backsliding as key obstacles to inclusion in the US today.
“At a time of rising ethno-nationalism and closing borders, this Index is a timely and important measure of how the countries we live in are performing relative to each other,” says co-author Stephen Menendian. “The findings are simultaneously hopeful and dispiriting, a reminder of progress and how much more we can do.”