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Singapore ranks 7th for citizen well-being: report

13 Jul 2018

SINGAPORE remains the only non-European country ranked in the top 10 for well-being, coming in seventh out of 152 countries in the latest edition of Boston Consulting Group's (BCG) Sustainable Economic Development Assessment (SEDA) report.

Over the last decade, Singapore's scores have improved across most of the study's 10 areas, particularly infrastructure and employment.

The country scores above the Asean average on all indicators but one: economic stability. From 2009 till 2018, Singapore's economic stability ranking also fell 24 rungs.

This is due to Singapore's nature as a small open economy, said BCG senior partner and managing director Vincent Chin.

The annual report assesses economic stability based on three indicators: inflation, inflation volatility and GDP growth volatility.

Singapore's relatively low score for economic stability - 81 out of a possible 100 - is driven by its GDP growth volatility, said Mr Chin.

"This can be explained by the fact that as a small open economy, Singapore's economic growth and business cycle fluctuations are more pronounced relative to other countries that are less economically open and outwardly oriented.

"Since SEDA measures relative performance of a country compared to 151 other countries, the decline in economic stability over the past decade also reflects that some countries are performing better in this dimension."

Over the last decade, Singapore's overall ranking has fluctuated between ninth and sixth. The biggest relative gains have been in employment and equality, with Singapore moving up 21 and 19 ranks respectively since 2009.

In contrast, the country has fallen 25 places for its performance in terms of the environment, which is also its lowest-scoring area.

In its report on this year's figures, BCG noted that countries which are better at generating well-being for their citizens also "tended to post faster economic growth and recover more quickly from recession in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis".

BCG measures the ability to convert wealth into well-being by comparing a country's actual SEDA score with the score it would be expected to have given its per capita income, based on the average global relationship between both variables.

On this measure, Singapore does slightly worse than average, with a score of 0.98 compared to the average coefficient of 1.