AQ's Social Inclusion Index in The Christian Science Monitor


July 30, 2013


In an article published on July 30, The Christian Science Monitor provides a broad overview of Americas Quarterly's 2013 Social Inclusion Index, which will be released on July 31 with the launch of the Summer 2013 issue of AQ.

The Christian Science Monitor reviews the rankings of the 16 countries assessed in the Index—including Uruguay, which received the highest score for social inclusion in this year's Index, runner-up Chile, and lowest-scoring countries Guatemala and Honduras. The article also comments on links between levels of social inclusion and violent crime, based on 2010 homicide rates. AQ finds that the three most violent countries (Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala) were also found to be among the least socially-inclusive in the region.

How socially inclusive is Latin America?

By Ezra Fieser

For the second year, Americas Quarterly has ranked Latin American countries and the United States based on social inclusion, sifting through multiple data sets for 16 nations, including variables like access to education, housing, and employment, as well as basic political, civil, and human rights. Here are some of the highest and lowest ranking countries and emerging trends:

1. Why 'social inclusion?'

The social inclusion index – which ranks countries based on how they score on each of the 21 variables – seeks to provide a picture of progress that goes beyond economic growth and poverty figures. It evaluates how well countries provide opportunities for their citizens to “enjoy a safe, productive life as a fully integrated member of society – irrespective of race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.”

Christopher Sabatini, editor of Americas Quarterly, a policy journal, says the index provides a more complete picture than can be drawn from looking at economic data alone. Some 50 million Latin Americans have lifted themselves from poverty to the middle class in the past decade, based on findings that suggest they earn $10 or more a day. “Being middle class is much more than that,” Mr. Sabatini says in launching the report.  “It’s about a sense of empowerment and is about having access to rights and things like social insurance, whether it’s health care or education. If you don’t have that, being middle class means very, very little.”

2. No. 1

Country: Uruguay
Overall score: 75.5

Last year’s No. 2 finisher leapfrogged last year’s top dog Chile, receiving high marks for political, civil, and human rights, as well as spending on social programs. Uruguay received a strong score for gay rights after becoming the first South American country to legalize same sex marriage: Lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a bill in April. Residents of the small country, which has a population of just 3.4 million, felt a sense of personal empowerment and that their government was generally responsive to their requests, according to surveys used in the index.

For the second year, however, the country received low marks for civil society participation.

Read the rest of the article here.

Like what you're reading?

Subscribe to Americas Quarterly's free Week in Review newsletter and stay up-to-date on politics, business and culture in the Americas.