22.07.2013

Finland ranked highly for social cohesion

Finland’s strengths include trust in institutions, respect for social rules and civic participation.

Finland has the third highest level of social cohesion from 34 countries in the EU and the OECD, according to the Social Cohesion Radar published by the Bertelsmann Stiftung and Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany. Social cohesion is defined as the special quality in how members of a community live and work together. 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.

According to the report, the overall trend for social cohesion in Finland is positive. The report identifies Finland’s particular strengths in the following dimensions: trust in people, acceptance of diversity, trust in institutions, respect for social rules, identification with the nation, and civic participation.

Welfare state and strong institutions

The study points to the Nordic welfare state as an important factor that actively redistributes wealth and promotes equality of opportunity, resulting in greater social cohesion. The quality of the Nordic countries’ institutions is also seen as unusually high.

The most important socio-economic factors associated with social cohesion are national wealth as measured by gross domestic product, a country's income gap as measured by the Gini coefficient, and its level of development towards a modern information society as measured by the Knowledge Index. “Social cohesion is crucial for any society's future and has a profound impact on a person's perceived well-being. More cohesion equals more life satisfaction,” says Liz Mohn, vice chairwoman of the Bertelsmann Foundation’s executive board.

Source: Bertelsmann Stiftung