Australia slips on the Social Progress Index 2018

Media releases

Australia slips on the Social Progress Index

20 September 2018: Australia has dropped six places in 12 months on the global Social Progress Index (SPI) a measurement of people’s quality of life and the wellbeing of society, independent of wealth. 

The Social Progress Index, compiled by the Social Progress Imperative a US-based nonprofit, ranks 146 countries’ social performance across five years (2014-18), using 51 indicators covering Nutrition, Shelter, Safety, Education, Health, as well as Rights and Inclusiveness.

The 2018 Index with the executive summary, methodology, country scorecards and other resources is available online at

Deloitte Australia Chief Strategy and Innovation officer Rob Hillard said; “Australia (88.32/100) hasn’t performed badly. It is just that our gains have been modest and other nations had recorded a greater improvement in key areas, pushing us from 9th to 15th place on the Index.

“We are still a country with an enviable standard of living and score highly in diverse areas such as for our clean water, education, freedom of expression. But the Index notes Australia’s high greenhouse emissions and marks us down for the refugees being held on Manus Island and Narau,” Mr Hillard said.

Deloitte supports the work of the Social Progress Imperative in order to help clients and business make better decisions around policy investments, resources and collaborations.

“With an increasingly complex set of global challenges we believe that business should actively collaborate to drive policies and initiatives that seek to improve the wellbeing of society and facilitate economic growth,” said Mr Hillard. 

Norway tops the 2018 Social Progress Index ranking scoring 90.26/100, boasting strong performance across all the components of the index. Norway has improved more than any of its Nordic neighbors. Central African Republic is at the bottom

The US is among only six countries in the world to have fallen back overall. The US has dropped from 85.70/100 in 2014 to 84.78/100 in 2018. Overall decline is driven by falls in Health, Education, Personal Safety, Personal Rights and Inclusiveness.

The Index reveals the richest countries have recorded sluggish progress; the poorer improving faster. All of the 30 highest ranked countries on the Social Progress Index are high income, but just two of them, Luxembourg and South Korea, experienced significant improvement since 2014. In contrast, the countries that have improved the most over the past five years are low and lower –middle income: Nepal, Ethiopia, Ghana and Pakistan among the biggest gainers.

If the world were a country, it would fall between Botswana (89) and the Philippines (90). That indicates an improvement in global social progress of 2.6%. This is principally being driven by access to information and communications, shelter, and access to advanced education.

Media Contact:

Tony Ritchie
Chief Communications Director
M: +61 407 002 704
T: +61 2 9322 7159

Did you find this useful?