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 Social Progress Index

In 2013 Social Progress Imperative teamed with leading experts across sectors to develop the Social Progress Index. This Index utilizes indicators above and beyond the economic factors measured by GDP, providing an authoritative view of a country's social and environmental strengths and weaknesses. Designed to complement GDP, the Social Progress Index will help illustrate the whole picture for more than 90% of the world's population across 132 countries.

The Social Progress Index examines 54 key social and environmental indicators captured across three 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 focal point for convening and platform building – bringing together the right players from different sectors to identify innovative solutions.

Insights from this analysis – and the actions they ignite – have the power to shift thinking for the better. Countries will be able to drive sustainable, and faster, growth through increased collaborations, more effective policies, and focused funding.

For business, identifying the areas that are hindering a particular country’s progress relative to their peers can serve as a country specific guide helping them determine where to leverage their skills and expertise to greatest effect.

Learn more about the Social Progress Index and download the 2014 report.

“It is our hope that just as GDP is the de facto measure of economic growth, so too the Social Progress Index will gain recognition as the de facto measure of social progress".

Michael Green

Executive Director, Social Progress Imperative

Unlocking Real Growth: Social Progress and the G20

On the 15th and 16th of November, Australia played host to the annual G20 Summit. The G20 provided an opportunity for leaders to discuss global economic issues and shape the world's effort to restore growth. Yet, growth without social progress is an empty goal. Governments need to think beyond the usual macroeconomic levers to support social progress. Australia and other G20 countries can enhance economic growth through addressing these social problems which are burdensome to economic progress.

Deloitte Australia has used the Social Progress Index to identify where Australia compares less favorably with its peer countries and therefore present opportunities for governments, business, and the not-for-profit sector to work.

To learn more visit the Deloitte Australia page or download the report. 

G20: Insights from the Social Progress Index 2014

Social Progress Index 2014 Deloitte launch

On 8 April 2014, Deloitte held a breakfast briefing to celebrate the launch of the 2014 Social Progress Index. Attended by influential individuals from the private sector, government, and civil society, and available to all online, guests watched a key note address by Professor Michael E. Porter on the connection between social and economic progress. This was followed by a panel discussion on how the Social Progress Index can be used to galvanize collective action to unlock true growth and progress.

The event was hosted at the Deloitte London offices by Deloitte's UK CEO, David Sproul and the panel brought together Michael E. Porter (Bishop William Lawrence Professor at Harvard Business School), Sally Osberg (President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation) and Beatriz Perez (Chief Sustainability Officer & Vice President of The Coca-Cola Company), and Steve Almond (Global Chairman, DTTL). 

Social Progress Index in the Media

The 2014 Social Progress Index was launched in The New York Times by Puliter-prize winning journalist, Nicholas Kristof. Entitled 'We're Not No. 1, We're Not No. 1!', the article reflected that the U.S. is not as successful as popularly believed, given its Index rank of 16th. The article was the most read, tweeted, shared by email, and shared by Facebook on the 3 April 2014. It received over 650 individual comments. 

Over the Index launch period, 3-4 April 2014, the Index was covered in over 450 individual publications internationally, including the Economist, the Guardian, the BBC, Reuters, CNN, and the Boston Globe

Deloitte, as a strategic partner, has received coverage as a result, either through opinion pieces, thought leadership, or quotes. Please see below for links to examples: 


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