Some European countries rank low in social cohesion: study

Three factors -- prosperity, an equal income distribution and technological progress toward achieving a knowledge society -- promote social cohesion the most and were found to have a positive impact on life satisfaction, according to the study.

Some European countries rank low in social cohesion: study

World Bulletin/News Desk

According to research conducted by the German-based Bertelsmann Foundation, some European countries scored low in issues regarding social cohesion, which is a significant factor in the integration of minorities.

The report, titled “Social Cohesion Radar” and released on July 16, ranks Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden as societies with the highest levels of social cohesion, followed by New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the US. However, some countries that have large numbers of immigrants ranked lower. The study ranked Switzerland ninth, the Netherlands 11th, Austria 13th, Germany 14th, France 16th and Belgium 18th out of 34 countries. Based on the findings of the study, Western European countries performed worse than Scandinavian and North American countries.

According to the report, in which social cohesion is defined as the special quality of how members of a community live and work together, countries in which the distribution of income is more equal tend to rank higher. “A cohesive society is characterized by resilient social relationships, a positive emotional connectedness between its members and the community and a pronounced focus on the common good,” it said.

The study examined social relations, connectedness and a focus on the common good and compiled an index of the 27 EU member states and seven Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries: Australia, Canada, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the US in four survey periods from 1989 to 2012.

The report found that Lithuania, Latvia and the southeastern European countries of Bulgaria, Greece and Romania suffer from low social cohesion.

Social cohesion a source of happiness

The research refutes the claim that immigration jeopardizes social cohesion. According to the report, the ratio of immigrants in a given society has no significant effect on social cohesion.

The report describes the decreasing trend for acceptance of diversity in Germany and willingness to engage with people from different cultural backgrounds as “worrisome” and says that Germany has fallen from the top to the middle group in the rankings. The UK, Spain, Portugal and Romania do better than Germany in this field.

The study also found that social cohesion has changed relatively little in the last 23 years in OECD countries.

The Social Cohesion Radar research is conducted by a team of Jacobs University Bremen in Germany.

Three factors -- prosperity, an equal income distribution and technological progress toward achieving a knowledge society -- promote social cohesion the most and were found to have a positive impact on life satisfaction, according to the study.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Temmuz 2013, 10:58
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