What Are Characteristics of a Civilized Society?

Modern civilized societies focus on education, safety and a high quality of life. Where these factors rank can change between societies. A strong middle class is another sign of a civilized society.

Agriculture is often credited with starting civilization. Agriculture allows one person to feed many, allowing other people to focus on other tasks. This job specialization has helped cultures develop writing, trade and other aspects of modern civilization, and it has allowed people to settle down in one location instead of having to live nomadic lifestyles.

Effective government is a cornerstone of civilized societies. Whether the government is a monarchy, democracy or dictatorship, a strong government is needed to enforce laws and keep people safe from foreign and domestic threats. Governments are also able to invest in infrastructure that citizens can use. Public-use roads, for example, typically require government approval and financing.

Education, science and art all play a role in civilized society, and these fields have been high priorities for thousands of years. An educated population tends to be less violent and happier, and art and entertainment help build cultural cohesion. Societies that invest in science are typically able to provide a better quality of life; modern medicine, for example, has led to longer lives.