Social Progress Index 2015: Governments, Businesses & NGOs urged to invest in Social Progress to “unleash economic success”

Zurich, 9th of April 2015

The most effective way to improve people’s quality of life across the world, in both rich and poor countries, is to invest in social progress. This is according to the Social Progress Index 2015 published today by US-based nonprofit, the Social Progress Imperative, and released at the 2015 Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship. The Index, ranked 133 countries based on their social and environmental performance and, including countries for which partial data was found, measured the social progress of 99% of the world’s population - using 52 separate indicators to arrive at a ranking for the issues that matter most to people.

The Index found that the world performs strongest in the areas of ‘nutrition’ and ‘basic medical care’ but weakest in ‘access to advanced education’ and ‘ecosystem sustainability’. The findings also show that many aspects of social progress improve with income. Wealthier countries, such as Norway and Switzerland - which are in the top rankings this year - generally deliver better social outcomes than lower income countries. But researchers say that GDP is far from being the sole determinant of social progress.

2015 Country Ranking Highlights

  • Norway is this year’s top performing country, followed by Sweden (2nd), Switzerland (3rd), Iceland (4th) and New Zealand (5th). Though these countries’ social progress scores are very similar, their GDP per capita vary widely (Norway $62,448; New Zealand $32,808), showing that higher GDP can help generate higher social progress but it is not the whole story.
  • Canada (6th) is the best performing G7 country, scoring significantly higher than the U.S. (16th). This is despite the fact that U.S. GDP per capita ($51,340) is significantly higher than Canada’s ($41,894). Canada is the only G7 country to show ‘Very High Social Progress’.
  • Brazil is the top of the BRICS, followed by South Africa, Russia, China and India. Russia has a much higher GDP per capita than Brazil (42nd) and South Africa (63rd) yet ranks lower on the Social Progress Index in 71st.

View all details on Switzerland.

About the Social Progress Index

The Social Progress Index 2015 is designed as a complement to GDP and other economic indicators to provide a more holistic understanding of countries’ overall performance. It is the world’s most comprehensive framework developed for measuring social progress, and the first to measure social progress independently of GDP. It provides detailed insight into whether citizens have access to a wide range of progress measures including basic services, opportunities, healthcare, education, housing, decent policing, rights and freedom from discrimination.

About the survey

The full, interactive dataset from the Index is available from the Social Progress Imperative. Please note that due to a variety of changes made to this year’s index including the number of countries covered, the 2014 Social Progress Index is not comparable to the 2015 Social Progress Index.

About the Social Progress Imperative

The Social Progress Imperative’s mission is to improve the lives of people around the world, particularly the least well off, by advancing global social progress by: providing a robust, holistic and innovative measurement tool—the Social Progress Index (SPI); fostering research and knowledge-sharing on social progress; and equipping leaders and change-makers in business, government and civil society with new tools to guide policies and programs.

Financial Support

The Social Progress Imperative is registered as a nonprofit organization in the US, and is grateful to the following organizations for their financial support: Cisco, Compartamos Banco, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. (Deloitte Global), Fundación Avina, The Rockefeller Foundation, and the Skoll Foundation.


About Deloitte in Switzerland

Deloitte is a leading accounting and consulting company in Switzerland and provides industry-specific services in the areas of audit, tax, consulting and corporate finance. With approximately 1,300 employees at six locations in Basel, Berne, Geneva, Lausanne, Lugano and Zurich (headquarters), Deloitte serves companies and institutions of all legal forms and sizes in all industry sectors. Deloitte AG is a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP, the UK member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL). DTTL member firms comprise of approximately 210,000 employees in more than 150 countries around the world.

Download the report

The 2015 Social Progress Index

Note to editors

In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte AG, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP, which is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries are leading business advisers, providing audit, tax, consulting and corporate finance services through more than 14 000 exceptional people across the UK and Switzerland. Known as an employer of choice for innovative human resources programmes, it is dedicated to helping its clients and people excel.

Deloitte AG is an auditor firm recognised and supervised by the Federal Audit Oversight Authority (FAOA) and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

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