Singapore ranks 7th for citizen well-being: Study

Singapore's scores have improved across most of the study's 10 areas, particularly infrastructure and employment.
Singapore's scores have improved across most of the study's 10 areas, particularly infrastructure and employment. ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

It is only non-European country in top 10 in BCG rankings, with improved scores in most areas

Singapore has been ranked seventh in a global well-being league table - the only non-European country in the top 10.

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

It scores above the Asean average on all indicators except economic stability, where its ranking has fallen 24 places from 2009 to this year.

This was due to Singapore's nature as a small open economy, said Mr Vincent Chin, senior partner and managing director at Boston Consulting Group (BCG), which carried out the annual study.

It 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," he noted.

"Since (the study) 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.

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

BCG noted that countries that 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".

"Policymakers do not need to choose between boosting near-term economic growth and improving the quality of life for citizens," it concluded.

BCG measures the ability to convert wealth into well-being by comparing a country's actual 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 with the average coefficient of 1.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2018, with the headline 'S'pore ranks 7th for citizen well-being: Study'. Print Edition | Subscribe