Senior researcher and Director of IPS Projects of the Latin American Center for Competitiveness and Sustainable Development (CLACDS) of INCAE Business School, and expert in methodology of The Social Progress Imperative, where he participates in the design and implementation of sub-projects ...
Trump was right
Amid the complicated electoral process in the United States, and the division that the numbers show, President Donald Trump's main campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again" or in Spanish, "Make America Great Again" takes a great relevance. And it is that when looking at the performance of the country in social and environmental indicators such as those measured by the Social Progress Index, important lags come to light on issues that should not concern the community. world's largest economy, almost 23.6% of the global economy, in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
For example, in the maternal mortality rate, the United States (US) ranks 73rd out of 163 countries with a rate of 29.34 deaths per 100,000. In other words, the probability that a woman will die giving birth in the United States is greater than in Chile, Uruguay or Costa Rica, three Latin American countries with the lowest maternal mortality rate.
In terms of security, and specifically the homicide rate, the US has a rate of 4.96 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, occupying position 95 out of 163 countries. If compared with the countries of the G-7Canada has a rate of 1.75, Germany of 0.94, Italy of 0.56, Japan of 0.26, France of 1.19 and the United Kingdom of 1.20, the United States is the most insecure country of this group of high-income countries.
Regarding health and well-being issues, such as life expectancy, the US ranks 41st out of 163 countries with a life expectancy at 60 years of 23.27 years. An indicator that puts it behind countries like Panama that has a life expectancy at 60 years of 24.72 years or South Korea with 25.12 years.
The pandemic has put well-being and health at the center of the discussion, especially when considering diseases related to an unhealthy lifestyle, and in this regard, the US ranks 54th worldwide in premature mortality from non-communicable diseases. (cardiovascular, diabetes, etc.) with a rate of 282.19 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. A performance that puts it far from Asian powers such as South Korea, Japan or Singapore, which have the lowest mortalities in the world with 154, 155 and 156 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants respectively.
In these first days of November, the United States also officially withdraws from the Paris Agreement, a worrying aspect for the world in general, because if CO2 emissions are reviewed, the United States ranks 189th with 6,510 equivalent tons, only ahead of China that emits 13,000 equivalent tons of CO2, being the two countries with the highest emissions of CO2 in the world.
And in terms of education, although it ranks first in the world for the number of high-level universities, when access to quality basic education (primary and secondary) is measured, the US is found to rank 91 out of 163 countries. Surpassed by Costa Rica, which occupies the 41st place, or Switzerland, which is among the first 10 countries in the world in this indicator.
These performances of course are not the result of the last four years, they are a trend that we have been able to measure for at least 10 years; in fact, the United States is one of the three countries in the world that have regressed in social progress, the other two being Hungary and Brazil. And although the economic engine of the United States has been advancing in the last 10 years at an average rate of 2.5% annual, and has a GDP per capita adjusted by purchase parity of 62,683 dollars, ranking it 8th out of 163 countries, social and environmental conditions, the quality of life of Americans has not improved.
And of course, in a country so extensive in territory, with a population of 328 million inhabitants, and with great cultural diversity, the realities are contrasting. The numbers presented and that low performance of the United States are a reflection of an alarming inequality in well-being and prosperity, for example, Kentucky and Alabama have maternal mortality rates of 40.8 and 36.4 deaths per 100,000 respectively, in contrast, Illinois has a rate of 9.7 deaths per 100,000 according to CDC data. These contrasts are reproduced in other indicators, and are materialized in the discomfort of citizens who do not see the economic success of the country reflected in the progress of their States, cities or communities. That is why, regardless of the electoral result, the numbers show that Trump was right, the United States is far from greatness, at least when it comes to social progress, and it is a trend that we have been able to measure since the last 10 years, including the government. of Trump.
To learn more about 10 years of data from the United States and 163 countries, you can visit the page www.socialprogress.org.