The Most Thoughtful Societies Index

Study ranks the level of respect and compassion that people in countries around the world have for one another and their peers by evaluating a variety of factors related to philanthropy, equality and family care.

At MyPostcard, we thrive on people’s kindness and how they express thoughtfulness for the benefit of others. A poignant feature of the pandemic was the invaluable and selfless acts that many key workers undertook to keep society safe and moving in such difficult and unprecedented times. As we emerge from this period, we thought it would be interesting to celebrate people’s compassion by benchmarking countries on measurable factors that demonstrate their level of thoughtfulness. This is the Most Thoughtful Societies Index.

No country nor society is perfect, but respecting and protecting basic human rights should be a minimum expectation. When conducting the study, we therefore disqualified countries with laws that impede upon human rights or make no effort to fix systemic flaws related to human rights. This means that some countries may rank very highly for certain factors but are omitted from the overall ranking.

The first topic we analysed was the level of philanthropy in a country. For this, we determined how much people donate to charities in their own country as well as internationally. We also looked at the social security benefits available to people and how much is spent on public services. Then, we gathered data on how compassionate people consider themselves to be and the rate of volunteering.

Then, we assessed each country based on how equal their societies are. To do this, we focused on public access to and quality of healthcare and education, the levels of gender and minority equality, and how socially mobile people can be.

Finally, we established what support for families is like in each location by looking at the amount of people who look after elderly family members, as well as how much state money goes on elderly care and child support.

Instructions for journalists

The first table below contains the results of the 35 most thoughtful societies in the world. To see the results for each indicator, click on the buttons to the left of the table. Each button represents a different indicator of thoughtfulness based on data.

Countries may rank amongst the best in the world for a specific factor but will not feature in the overall table because of human rights violations committed by their governments or leaders. For more information on the parameters for disqualification, how each factor was calculated and all sources used, please refer to the methodology below.

Philanthropy

  • Charity

  • Social Security Benefits

  • International Donations

  • Public Services Funding

  • Compassion

  • Volunteering

Equality

  • Healthcare

  • Education

  • Gender Equality

  • Minority Equality

  • Social Mobility

Family

  • Elderly Support from Family

  • Elderly Care from State

  • Child Support

International Results

#
Country
Total
1
Netherlands
100
2
Canada
99.2
3
Finland
96.94
4
Australia
96.25
5
New Zealand
95.67
6
Sweden
94.65
7
Germany
93.82
8
Iceland
93.78
9
Ireland
93.13
10
USA
93
11
Switzerland
92.16
12
Norway
90.86
13
Denmark
90.04
14
Austria
88.81
15
UK
88.17
16
Belgium
87.13
17
Spain
83.36
18
France
82.67
19
Luxembourg
82.19
20
Czechia
80.84
21
Estonia
80.04
22
Italy
76.72
23
Portugal
76.12
24
Mongolia
75.73
25
Croatia
73.63
26
Japan
73.31
27
Slovakia
73.3
28
Costa Rica
72.86
29
South Korea
72.04
30
Chile
66.04
31
Colombia
63.62
32
Indonesia
62.16
33
Greece
61.39
34
South Africa
59.08
35
Mexico
58.76

Methodology

The Most Thoughtful Societies Index uses data to rank the level of respect and compassion that people in countries around the world have for their fellow inhabitants and peers. The study collected data from every country in the world before narrowing them down to reveal the top 35 scoring nations overall and the top 25 countries in the world for each factor.

Three broad categories were assessed for each location: levels of philanthropy, levels of equality, and levels of family support, with each category made up of a variety of indicators.

Factors & Scoring

Each factor consists of one or more indicators which were scored and averaged. The equation for scoring is as follows:
\[\small{Score = {x - mean(X) \over Standard\ deviation(X)}}\] in short \[{x - \mu} \over \sigma\]

For columns where a lower value is better, the score is inverted so that a high score is always better:
\[\small{Score_{inverted} = - {x - mean(X) \over Standard\ deviation(X)}}\] in short \[-{{x - \mu} \over \sigma}\]

Data is normalised on a [50-100] scale, with 100 being the best score. Therefore, the higher the score, the better the country ranks for that factor in comparison to the other countries in the index. The formula used is min-max normalisation:
\[\small{score = (100-50)*{x - min(X) \over max(X)- min(X)}+50}\]

The final score was determined by calculating the sum of the weighted average score of all indicators. Below you can find a detailed description of each factor within the study and the sources used.

Criteria for Disqualification

The criteria for disqualification centres around the mistreatment of women and minorities, the criminalisation of the LGBTQ+ community and human rights violations that are entrenched in the laws and legal framework of the country. Countries with discriminatory laws and government mandates in these areas have therefore been removed from the overall ranking of the most thoughtful countries. They may, however, still appear in specific factor rankings.

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