Social Progress Index

The Social Progress Index (SPI) measures the extent to which countries provide for the social and environmental needs of their citizens. Fifty-four indicators in the areas of basic human needs, foundations of well-being, and opportunity to progress show the relative performance of nations. The index is published by the nonprofit Social Progress Imperative, and is based on the writings of Amartya Sen, Douglass North, and Joseph Stiglitz.[1] The SPI measures the well-being of a society by observing social and environmental outcomes directly rather than the economic factors. The social and environmental factors include wellness (including health, shelter and sanitation), equality, inclusion, sustainability and personal freedom and safety.[2]

2018 Social Progress Index
2018 Social Progress Index

Introduction and methodology

The index combines three dimensions

  1. Basic human needs
  2. Foundations of well-being
  3. Opportunity

Each dimension includes four components, which are each composed of between three and five specific outcome indicators. The included indicators are selected because they are measured appropriately, with a consistent methodology, by the same organization across all (or essentially all) of the countries in the sample. Together, this framework aims to capture a broad range of interrelated factors revealed by the scholarly literature and practitioner experience as underpinning social progress.

Two key features of the Social Progress Index are:[2]

  1. the exclusion of economic variables
  2. the use of outcome measures rather than inputs

Social Progress Imperative evaluated hundreds of possible indicators while developing the Social Progress Index, including engaging researchers at MIT to determine what indicators best differentiated the performance of nations. The index uses outcome measures when there are sufficient data available or the closest possible proxies.[2]


In 2010, a group of global leaders from the social sector sought to develop a better measure of a country's level of development and, by extension, better understand its development priorities. Funded by private foundations and under the technical guidance of Professors Michael Porter from Harvard Business School and Scott Stern from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the group formed Social Progress Imperative and launched a beta version of the Social Progress Index for 50 countries in 2013 to measure a comprehensive array of components of social and environmental performance and aggregate them into an overall framework.

This work was influenced by the contributions of Amartya Sen on social development, as well as by the recent call for action in the report Mismeasuring Our Lives by the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress.[3] The Social Progress Index was released in 2014 for 133 countries with a second version in 2015.[2]

On 11 July 2013, Social Progress Imperative's chairman and professor at Harvard Business School, Michael Porter, addressed the United Nations 6th Ministerial Forum for Development and discussed the Social Progress Index.[2]

In addition to the global Social Progress Index, the methodology used to create it has been adapted to measure social and environmental performance in smaller areas, such as the Amazon region of Brazil.[4] Other projects include a Social Progress Index for the Municipality of Guatemala City.[5] Fundacion Paraguaya has integrated elements of the Social Progress Index into its Poverty Stoplight tool. The national government of Paraguay is setting a target for Social Progress Index performance alongside GDP targets.

The Guardian reported that the European Commission had agreed to partner with Social Progress Imperative to create a social progress index for the European Union.[6] The EU Social Progress Index was published in October, 2016.

A similar index, although with some differences compared to the nation list (and therefore not directly comparable), has been published for the individual U.S. states.[7][8]

2018 Rankings and scores by country

Color key:

Very high →  Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3 Tier 4 Tier 5 Tier 6  → Very low
Country 2018[9]
Rank Score
 Norway 1 90.26
 Iceland 2 90.24
  Switzerland 3 89.97
 Denmark 4 89.96
 Finland 5 89.77
 Japan 6 89.74
 Netherlands 7 89.34
 Luxembourg 8 89.27
 Germany 9 89.21
 New Zealand 10 89.12
 Sweden 11 88.99
 Ireland 12 88.82
 United Kingdom 13 88.74
 Canada 14 88.62
 Australia 15 88.32
 France 16 87.88
 Belgium 17 87.39
 South Korea 18 87.13
 Spain 19 87.11
 Austria 20 86.76
 Italy 21 86.04
 Slovenia 22 85.50
 Singapore 23 85.42
 Portugal 24 85.36
 United States 25 84.78
 Czech Republic 26 84.66
 Estonia 27 83.49
 Cyprus 28 82.85
 Greece 29 82.59
 Israel 30 82.47
 Lithuania 31 81.86
 Poland 32 81.21
 Costa Rica 33 80.99
 Chile 34 80.61
 Slovakia 35 80.34
 Hungary 36 80.11
 Croatia 37 79.60
 Uruguay 38 79.40
 Latvia 39 79.25


From an econometric stand point, the Index appears to be similar to other efforts aimed at overcoming the limitation of traditional economic measure such as the gross domestic product (GDP). One major criticism is that although the Social Progress Index can be seen as a superset of indicators used by earlier econometric models such as Gross National Well-being Index 2005, Bhutan Gross National Happiness Index of 2012, and World Happiness Report of 2012, Yet, unlike them, it ignores measures of subjective life satisfaction and psychological well-being. Other critics point out that "there remain certain dimensions that are currently not included in the SPI. These are the concentration of wealth in the top 1 percent of the population, efficiency of the judicial system, and quality of the transportation infrastructure."[10]

Some critics argue that "we must be wary. Though words such as “inclusive capitalism” are bandied around increasingly these days to signal a new age, free from ideological battlegrounds between public and private, much of what the organization’s founders say about it confirms that the index is more about being “business inclusive” than “inclusive capitalism.”[11]

See also


  1. ^ "Beyond GDP". The Economist. 18 April 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Social Progress Imperitive Website". Social Progress Imperitive. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  3. ^ "Beyond GDP". The Economist. 18 April 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
  4. ^ "Conservation of Amazon threatened by poor social conditions of its people: study". Global Post. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  5. ^ "ÍNDICE DE PROGRESO SOCIAL DE LA CIUDAD DE GUATEMALA - Progreso Social". Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  6. ^ Jo Confino. "European Commission agrees to investigate using social progress tool alongside GDP". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  7. ^ "Social Progress Index: US States – Methodology Summary" (PDF). Social Progress Imperative. 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  8. ^ "State Progress Reports". Social Progress Imperative. 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^

External links


The "disadvantaged" is a generic term for individuals or groups of people who:

Face special problems such as physical or mental disability

Lack money or economic support

EU Social Progress Index

The European Union Regional Social Progress Index is a tool developed by the European Commission-Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy in cooperation with the Social Progress Imperative and Orkestra Basque Institute of Competitiveness to measure the social progress in the 272 regions of the European Union. The European Union Regional Social Progress Index is based on the framework of the Global Social Progress Index, developed by the Social Progress Imperative (non-profit), but adapts both its methodology and indicators' set to the European Union context.

The definitive version was released in October 2016. A first draft was released in February 2016. As the main index, computed for more than 130 countries in the world, the EU Regional Social Progress Index (EU-SPI) is a tool to complement existing welfare indices (such as GDP per capita or HDI), evaluating how effectively the economic success of a country is transformed into social progress.

The EU-SPI unit of analysis are the 272 NUTS 2 Regions of the European Union. To do so, it uses 50 indicators (the main data sources are Eurostat and the EU-SILC). Those 50 indicators are divided in three main dimensions:

Basic Human Needs

Foundations of Wellbeing

OpportunityEach dimension is divided in four components, which at the time contain from three to seven indicators.

When the index was released, it showed a great contrast between how regions performed if we use the GDP per capita as a measure of well-being, and how they perform if we use the EU-SPI. Some regions, as the capital region of Belgium (Région de Bruxelles-Capitale), which has a large GDP per capita performed poorly in the EU-SPI (you can find other examples, mainly in capital regions and many regions in Italy and Spain)

The publication of the Index had a notable media impact, including articles in the BBC, The Huffington Post or El País

Financial and social rankings of sovereign states in Europe

The aim of this page is to act as a comparison between the sovereign states of Europe regarding economic, financial and social factors.

Fundación Avina

Fundación Avina is a Latin American philanthropic foundation working towards sustainable development in Latin America by encouraging alliances between social and business leaders.

Gross National Happiness

Gross National Happiness (also known by the acronym: GNH) is a philosophy that guides the government of Bhutan. It includes an index which is used to measure the collective happiness and well-being of a population. Gross National Happiness is instituted as the goal of the government of Bhutan in the Constitution of Bhutan, enacted on 18 July 2008.The term Gross National Happiness was coined in 1972 during an interview by a British journalist for the Financial Times at Bombay airport when the then king of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, said "Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product."In 2011, The UN General Assembly passed Resolution "Happiness: towards a holistic approach to development" urging member nations to follow the example of Bhutan and measure happiness and well-being and calling happiness a "fundamental human goal."In 2012, Bhutan's Prime Minister Jigme Thinley and the Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon of the United Nations convened the High Level Meeting: Well-being and Happiness: Defining a New Economic Paradigm to encourage the spread of Bhutan's GNH philosophy. At the High Level meeting, the first World Happiness Report was issued. Shortly after the High Level meeting, 20 March was declared to be International Day of Happiness by the UN in 2012 with resolution 66/28.Bhutan's Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay proclaimed a preference for focus on more concrete goals instead of promoting GNH when he took office, but subsequently has protected the GNH of his country and promoted the concept internationally. Other Bhutanese officials also promote the spread of GNH at the UN and internationally.

Human development (economics)

Human development is the science that seeks to understand how and why the people of all ages and circumstances change or remain the same over time. It involves studies of the human condition with its core being the capability approach. The inequality adjusted Human Development Index is used as a way of measuring actual progress in human development by the United Nations. It is an alternative approach to a single focus on economic growth, and focused more on social justice, as a way of understanding progress.

The term human development may be defined as an expansion of human capabilities, a widening of choices, 'an enhancement of freedom, and a fulfilment of human rights. This also simply means developing mentally, socially through growing and experiencing things in your life and learning new things.

The United Nations Development Programme defines human development as "the process of enlarging people's choices," said choices allowing them to "lead a long and healthy life, to be educated, to enjoy a decent standard of living," as well as "political freedom, other guaranteed human rights and various ingredients of self-respect."Development concerns expanding the choices people have, to lead lives that they value, and improving the human condition so that people have the chance to lead full lives. Thus, human development is about much more than economic growth, which is only a means of enlarging people's choices. Fundamental to enlarging these choices is building human capabilities—the range of things that people can do or be in life. Capabilities are "the substantive freedoms [a person] enjoys to lead the kind of life [they have] reason to value". Human development disperses the concentration of the distribution of goods and services underprivileged people need and center its ideas on human decisions. By investing in people, we enable growth and empower people to pursue many different life paths, thus developing human capabilities. The most basic capabilities for human development are to lead long and healthy lives, be knowledgeable (i.e., educated), have access to resources and social services needed for a decent standard of living, and be able to participate in the life of the community. Without these, many choices are not available, and many opportunities in life remain inaccessible.An abstract illustration of human capability is a bicycle. A bicycle itself is a resource—a mode of transportation. If the person who owns a bicycle is unable to ride it (due to a lack of balance or knowledge), the bicycle is useless to her or him as transportation and loses its functioning. If a person owns a bicycle and has the ability to ride a bicycle, they have the capability of riding to a friend's house, a local store, or a great number of other places. This capability would (presumably) increase their value of life and expand their choices. A person, therefore, needs both resources and the ability to use them to pursue their capabilities. This is one example of how different resources or skills can contribute to human capability. This way of looking at development, often forgotten in the immediate concern with accumulating commodities and financial wealth, is not new. Philosophers, economists, and political leaders emphasized human well being as the purpose, or the end, of development. As Aristotle said in ancient Greece, "Wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking, for it is merely useful for the sake of something else."

International comparisons

International comparisons, or national evaluation indicators, focuses on the quantitative, qualitative, and evaluative analysis of one country in relation to others. Often, the objective is to compare one country's performance to others in order to assess what countries have achieved, what needs to change in order for them to perform better, or a country's progress in reaching certain objectives.

International rankings of Hungary

These are the international rankings of Hungary.

International rankings of Kazakhstan

These are the international rankings of Kazakhstan.

International rankings of Malaysia

The following are international rankings of Malaysia.

International rankings of Mauritius

These are the international rankings of Mauritius.

List of globalization-related indices

This article lists various economic and human development measurements related to the study of globalization.

List of international rankings

This is a list of international rankings.

Lists by country

This is a series of lists by country. The lists generally cover topics related to sovereign countries; however, states with limited recognition are also included.

Michael Porter

Michael Eugene Porter (born May 23, 1947) is an American academic known for his theories on economics, business strategy, and social causes. He is the Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at Harvard Business School, and he was one of the founders of the consulting firm The Monitor Group (now part of Deloitte) and FSG, a social impact consultancy. He is credited for creating Porter's five forces analysis, which is instrumental in business strategy development today.


Serbia (Serbian: Србија / Srbija [sř̩bija]), officially the Republic of Serbia (Serbian: Република Србија / Republika Srbija [repǔblika sř̩bija]), is a country situated at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe in the southern Pannonian Plain and the central Balkans. The sovereign state borders Hungary to the north, Romania to the northeast, Bulgaria to the southeast, North Macedonia to the south, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to the west, and Montenegro to the southwest. The country claims a border with Albania through the disputed territory of Kosovo. Serbia's population is about seven million. Its capital, Belgrade, ranks among the oldest and largest citiеs in southeastern Europe.Inhabited since the Paleolithic Age, the territory of modern-day Serbia faced Slavic migrations to the Balkans in the 6th century, establishing several sovereign states in the early Middle Ages at times recognized as tributaries to the Byzantine, Frankish and Hungarian kingdoms. The Serbian Kingdom obtained recognition by the Vatican and Constantinople in 1217, reaching its territorial apex in 1346 as the relatively short-lived Serbian Empire. By the mid-16th century, the entirety of modern-day Serbia was annexed by the Ottomans, and their rule was at times interrupted by the Habsburg Empire, which started expanding towards Central Serbia from the end of the 17th century while maintaining a foothold in the north of the country. In the early 19th century, the Serbian Revolution established the nation-state as the region's first constitutional monarchy, which subsequently expanded its territory. Following disastrous casualties in World War I, and the subsequent unification of the former Habsburg crownland of Vojvodina (and other territories) with Serbia, the country co-founded Yugoslavia with other South Slavic peoples, which would exist in various political formations until the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s. During the breakup of Yugoslavia, Serbia formed a union with Montenegro, which was peacefully dissolved in 2006. In 2008, the parliament of the province of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence, with mixed responses from the international community.

Serbia is a member of the UN, CoE, CERN, OSCE, PfP, BSEC, CEFTA, and is acceding to the WTO. Since 2014 the country has been negotiating its EU accession with perspective of joining the European Union by 2025. Serbia dropped in ranking from Free to Partly Free in the 2019 Freedom House report. Since 2007, Serbia formally adheres to the policy of military neutrality. An upper-middle income economy with a dominant service sector followed by the industrial sector and agriculture, the country ranks relatively high on the Human Development Index (66th), Social Progress Index (45th) as well as the Global Peace Index (54th).

Social Progress Imperative

The Social Progress Imperative is a US-based nonprofit created in 2012 best known for the Social Progress Index, a multi-indicator index that assesses the social and environmental performance of different countries. The Social Progress Index is an effort to complement the measure of national performance using traditional economic measures such as gross domestic product with data on social and environmental performance.

Standard of living

An individual’s or a socioeconomic class’s standard of living is the level of wealth, comfort, material goods, and necessities available to them in a certain geographic area, usually a country. The standard of living includes factors such as income, quality and availability of employment, class disparity, poverty rate, quality and affordability of housing, hours of work required to purchase necessities, gross domestic product, inflation rate, amount of leisure time every year, affordable (or free) access to quality healthcare, quality and availability of education, life expectancy, incidence of disease, cost of goods and services, infrastructure, national economic growth, economic and political stability,freedom, environmental quality, climate and safety. The standard of living is closely related to quality of life.


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