For this fourth issue of The Progress of Nations, a change has been made to the way in which league tables are presented. Previously, all developing countries were grouped into geographic regions, while the nations of Europe, North America, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand were listed together as industrialized nations.
This led to the anomaly of several economically advanced nations being listed as developing countries, while economically less developed countries were included under industrialized nations.
For this 1996 edition, the league tables have been reorganized on the basis of geography alone. Apart from dispensing with out-of-date definitions of 'developing' and 'industrialized', the new groupings set new frameworks for comparisons of social progress. Australia, Japan, and New Zealand, for example, now contend with Hong Kong, the Republic of Korea and Singapore. In the Asia and Pacific region, China and India are brought into direct comparison. And in the Americas, social indicators for Central and South America can now be compared directly with those of Canada and the United States.
The section on the children of the rich world continues to use the conventional list of industrialized nations. This is because comparable data are usually only available for these countries. In the future, it is hoped that coverage of the problems facing children in more economically advanced nations will be based on a definition of those countries that is economic rather than geographic or historical.