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On Inclusivity, U.S. More Like Russia than Canada

Last week I mentioned the UC-Berkeley Othering and Belonging Institute’s analysis showing South Dakota to have the worst coronavirus pandemic response in the nation. (Improve that ranking today: GET YOUR SHOTS!!!) That assessment is part of a much broader report, the Othering and Belonging Institute’s Inclusiveness Index, an annual assessment of how well nations treat their marginalized groups. The analysis considers six areas: out-group violence (lynchings, religious conflict, genocide), political representation, income inequality, anti-discrimination laws, incarceration rates, and immigration and asylum policies (e.g., does the nation welcome refugees).

On these measures, the United States, which has the wealth and power and founding Declaration to treat all people equally, ranks 80th, and the bottom of the Berkeley Inclusiveness Index’s “Medium” category. We were 68th in the 2019 index.

The top nations for inclusivity are the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Norwway, Portugal, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Finland, Canada, and Denmark. The U.S. is a little worse at inclusivity than Peru, Bulgaria, and El Salvador, and we’re just a little better than North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Vietnam. Russia just misses the worst ten nations for inclusivity, which are Malaysia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Algeria, Jordan, Myanmar, Iran, Angola, Morocco, and Iraq.

Our scaled inclusivity score (40.61) is closer to Russia’s (18.86) than to Canada’s (68.52).

Within the United States, three states beat Canada for inclusivity: Hawaii, Maryland, and Rhode Island. Inclusivity scores fall off quickly for other states: on a scale of 0 to 100, with Hawaii pegged at 100, only Maryland, Rhode Island, and Nevada get scaled scores in the 60s; every other state is below 50. South Dakota is the zero on the scale: we are the worst state for inclusivity, trading places with Louisiana for that distinction.


  1. SD is 20 per cent nonwhite 2021-04-07 08:20

    Wow. Wyoming, Louisiana. South Dakota, an Inclusivity Zero.

    What are the odds of a Native American Governor here? Or a Latino or Black Lieutenant Governor?

    Othering is a function of can State Government handle putting nonWhite faces in leadership positions.
    SD has a very long way to go.

  2. Richard Schriever 2021-04-07 09:02

    My future home of Ecuador ranks #38, the same as last year. Over all scores similar to states 5-8 in the US; Oregon, Washington, Georgia or Illinois. Having experienced the inclusive culture of Ecuador is just one more factor to my relocation decision.

  3. Richard Schriever 2021-04-07 09:08

    South Dakota’s raw score is nearly identical to Russia’s. SD= -.5549; Russia = -.5718.

    Would the inverse be a “hatefulness” score?

  4. Mark Anderson 2021-04-07 14:49

    South Dakota Republicans would vote for Putin if they could.

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-04-07 18:14

    Richard, I don’t think “hatefulness” is the best inverse/antonym to this inclusivity index. Arguably, hate can be inclusive: one could loath everyone in general and behave in a completely antisocial fashion. Maybe the richest antonym would “segregationist”, or maybe an “apartheid index.” But in conventional and legal usage, where “hate”—as in “hate crime”—specifies action targeting specific groups, the term would suffice.

    Speaking of apartheid, after just three decades of post-apartheid reforms and reconciliation, South Africa scored 57.81 on the 2020 Inclusivity Index, ranking 29th among all surveyed nations.

    South Africa 29th for inclusivity, the United States 80th.

  6. Kyle 2021-04-08 17:10

    I didn’t look all that closely at the report, but China literally has millions of Uighurs in concentration camps right now, censors internet references to homosexuality, does not recognize same-sex unions, and imprisons political dissidents. China gets a score of 32.52. A minority is going to be better off in any state in the U.S., including South Dakota, so I have to question their methodology.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-04-09 06:02

    China’s score is lower than that of the United States, so the authors of this Inclusivity Index would likely agree that minorities would be better off in the US in general than in China. But it is interesting that the Uighur genocide does not push China’s raw score below that of either South Dakota or Massachusetts.

    But let’s remember: saying that we’re better than China on human rights is about as good a selling point as saying that South Dakota offers more oxygen than Mars.

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