The Social Progress Index

A holistic measure of progress

For 80 years GDP has been the gold standard for measuring a country's economic progress, but limiting a country's measure of growth and competitiveness to just economic indicators creates an incomplete picture.

The EU Regional Social Progress Index 2016 report

In February the European Commission launched a beta version of a new EU Regional Social Progress Index. The EU Regional Social Progress Index is a three-year collaborative project carried out by the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy of the European Commission (DG Regio), Social Progress Imperative and Orkestra (a Basque competitiveness institute). Developed in conjunction with Social Progress Imperative (SPI), the Index reveals the different levels of societal wellbeing across the 272 regions in the 28 EU member states.

Deloitte has supported the Index through its global partnership with SPI, a non-profit forging new ground in measuring what matters most to people. The Deloitte EU Policy Centre has worked with SPI to convene 40+ MEPs and other influencers to create a network of supporters.

The Index

The complexities of the 21st century require new measures of progress.

Developed in 2013, Social Progress Imperative teamed with leading experts across sectors to develop the Social Progress Index as a counter-weight to GDP.

It examines 52 key social and environmental indicators captured under 12 components across 3 dimensions of social progress:

  • Basic human needs (such as water, nutrition, and shelter)
  • Foundations of wellbeing (such as health, sustainability, and access to communications)
  • Opportunity (such as political freedoms, tolerance, and access to higher education)

By highlighting the most pressing issues that prevent progress, the Social Progress Index acts as a practical guide for directing resources toward issues that can unlock this growth. For business, it is a necessary tool in the 21st century— guiding investment, informing social responsibility strategies, and better understanding the impact and purpose of business in society beyond profit.

It a focal point for convening and platform building – bringing together the right players from different sectors to identify innovative solutions.

Social Progress Index in the Media

The Social Progress Index has received significant media attention. 

The 2014 & 2015 Social Progress Index was launched in The New York Times by Puliter-prize winning journalist, Nicholas Kristof (download left). 

In 2015 launch received over 1000 media hits in 100 countries and created a buzz on social media, reached 40 million Twitter accounts.

Deloitte’s partnership received top-tier coverage during the launch from Wall Street Journal LiveReutersCNN Moneyand Forbes with former Deloitte Global Chairman, Steve Almond, acting as spokesperson.

As a strategic partner Deloitte Global and its member firms have received broad coverage, either through opinion pieces, thought leadership, or quotes. Please see below for links to examples: 


  • Watch the El Youm Fi Sa'a Show, which interviews Rashid Bashir, strategy consulting Partner at Deloitte Middle East on CNBC Arabia (Arabic)
  • An opinion piece by Deloitte Iceland's Managing Partner, Sigurdur Pall Hauksson, in Viðskiptablaðið (Icelandic)
  • An opinion peice by Deloitte Guatemala Partner, Walter Martinez in Siglio 21 (Spanish) 
  • An opinion piece by Deloitte in Costa Rica Managing Partner, Alan Saborio, in El Financeiro (Spanish) 
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