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BERKELEY, CA: The Netherlands, Sweden, and Norway took the top spots in the 2019 Inclusiveness Index, our annual ranking of global inclusion that classifies 132 countries and all 50 US states according to policies and laws that challenge or promote belonging. In the US index, Hawaii, Nevada, and Maryland edged out front, while Louisiana, South Dakota, and North Dakota ranked at the bottom.

US states and global nations that rank high in inclusivity provide greater access to power and resources to groups that span salient social cleavages, such as gender, race, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation. In addition to ranking individual nations and US states according to their levels of inclusivity, the report also includes supplemental highlights identifying the major trends influencing belonging this year, such as increasing anti-trans violence and global corruption.

“The Index helps us see not only how countries are faring relative to each other, but also how they are doing over time,” says co-author of the Index Samir Gambhir. “India, for example, has moved lower in our ranking since 2016, likely in part due to deteriorating religious cohesion, increased gender-based discrimination, and declining political representation for minority communities.”

At a time when populism, xenophobia, and inter-group conflict is rising in the US and around the world, understanding how states can promote inclusion, equity, and well-being—and what they should avoid—is more important than ever.

“This Index is a timely and important measure of how the countries we live in are performing relative to each other,” says a second co-author Stephen Menendian. “The findings are simultaneously hopeful and dispiriting, a reminder of progress and how much more we can do.”

The third co-author of the Index, Elsadig Elsheikh, says the report doesn’t claim the final word on inclusivity. "Rather it points to and suggests how governments could benefit from its analysis to eliminate policies that deepen marginality and expand inclusivity."

Key Global Findings

  • Eleven nations improved their standing, including Thailand, Moldova, Haiti, Mexico, Hungary, Senegal, Burkina Faso, France, and Lithuania
  • Gabon, which was added in this index, and last seen in our 2016 index, moved from the Lowest to Moderate category
  • Sierra Leone rose the most of all nations, from the Low to High category.
  • Thirteen nations fell in their standing, including Mauritania, Kazakhstan, Benin, Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia, Macedonia, the Philippines, Spain, Mozambique, Mauritius, Fiji, and Estonia
  • Togo had the greatest fall, from the Moderate to Lowest category

Key US Findings

  • Twenty-five states changed their inclusivity designation from 2018, a majority of which were a modest movement up or down a single category
  • Virginia, for example, improved from Moderate to High; Researchers highlight the state’s recent attempt to enfranchise tens of thousands of citizens who had lost the right to vote due to felony convictions
  • West Virginia moved from the Lowest to Low category, with researchers noting that the state reached a major settlement with teachers to increase pay in the last year
  • New Mexico rose from Low to High, and Washington State rose from Moderate to Highest, while Wyoming fell from the Moderate to Lowest category due to increasing income inequality, especially for people with disabilities
  • The most disappointing result was North Dakota, which ranked High in 2018 but has since fallen to the Lowest category; It received only 80 refugees in 2018 compared to 361 in 2017, a drop of roughly 80 percent

Media Contact
Sara Grossman
Communications Strategist

About the Index
The Inclusiveness Index Report is an annual publication that identifies and captures the degree of group-based inclusion and marginality experienced across the world and within the United States. From year to year, the Inclusiveness Index is intended to help understand changes in how nations treat their marginalized groups, and how they respond to local and global phenomena, such as changing demographics as a result of increased global migration.

The index does not purport to represent a definitive measure of any one country's inclusion or lack thereof, but it is intended to draw attention to the conditions of marginalized groups, globally, and generate discussion for further inquiry into the realities facing certain regions with the hope of influencing policy that would improve people’s lives.

About the Othering & Belonging Institute
The Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley is a research institute bringing together scholars, community stakeholders, policymakers, and communicators to identify and challenge the barriers to an inclusive, just, and sustainable society in order to create transformative change.