India ranked 102 out of 132 countries on Social Progress Index

India was ranked 102 out of 132 countries on the Social Progress Index (SPI) published by the US-based non-profit organisation Social Progress Imperative

Created On: Apr 5, 2014 16:21 IST

India was ranked 102 out of 132 countries on the Social Progress Index (SPI) published by the US-based non-profit organisation Social Progress Imperative on 3 April 2014. This is the second publication of the SPI. The first SPI was published in 2013 taking into account the social progress in 50 countries.


The 2014 SPI has shed light on the current debates about inclusive growth and shared prosperity. The SPI rates 132 countries on more than 50 indicators, including health, sanitation, shelter, personal safety, access to information, sustainability, tolerance and inclusion and access to education.

Main highlights of SPI

  • The top five countries are New Zealand, Switzerland, Iceland, Netherlands and Norway. These countries, which are relatively small in terms of populations, score strongly across all dimensions.
  • The lowest five countries are Sudan (128), Guinea (129), Burundi (130), Central African Republic (131) and Chad (132).
    The social progress indicators of the BRIC (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) countries are at best mixed one although these countries are seen as economies with growth potential.
  • Among BRICS group, only Brazil (46th) ranks better on social progress than it does on GDP per capita (57th). Russia has a higher GDP than Brazil (39th) yet ranks lower on the Social Progress Index (80th); South Africa is 58th on GDP and 69th on social progress; China is 69th on GDP and 90th on social progress; and, India is 94th on GDP and 102nd on social progress.
  • In the South Asian region, the ranking of the countries in ascending order are Pakistan (124), India (102), Nepal (101), Bangladesh (99) and Sri Lanka (87). All the countries of South Asian region fall under Fifth Tier (low GDP with low SPI) except Sri Lanka.
  • Economic development alone is not sufficient to explain social progress outcomes. GDP per capita is an incomplete measure of a country’s overall performance.
    Countries with higher income tend to have higher social progress: New Zealand with ($25,857 GDP per capita) ranks highest on social progress while Chad with ($1,870 GDP per capita) ranks lowest.
  • There is a nonlinear relationship between Social Progress Index scores and GDP per capita. The relationship between economic development and social progress changes as income rises. At lower income levels, small differences in GDP are associated with large differences in social progress.
  • Social Progress Index scores display significant deviations from the GDP per capita trend line. New Zealand, for example, is the top-ranked country on social progress, but ranks only 25th in GDP per capita. Similarly, Chad is the lowest ranked country on social progress but it is far from the poorest country (it ranks 109th on GDP per capita).I
  • In general, resource-rich countries are more likely to under-perform on social progress relative to their GDP per capita. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Angola are all significant under-performers


India’s performance on various dimension

India was ranked 102 out of 132 countries on the social progress index. Performance of India is good in the areas of Nutrition and Basic Medical care. Overall score of India on Social Progress Index is 50.24.

Basic Human Needs Dimension- India does best in areas including Nutrition and Basic Medical Care and has the greatest opportunity to improve human wellbeing by focusing more on Shelter. India achieved 100th rank with 54.48 score.

Foundations of Wellbeing Dimension- India excel at providing building blocks for people's lives such as Access to Basic Knowledge. India achieved 108th rank with score 56.84 score.

Opportunity Dimension- India outperforms in providing opportunities for people to improve their position in society and scores highly in Personal Freedom and Choice dimension. India achieved 109th rank with 39.39 score.

What is Social Progress Index?

This index is based on the writings of Amartya Sen, Douglass North, and Joseph Stiglitz and it is an aggregate index of 54 social and environmental indicators that capture three dimensions of social progress: Basic Human Needs, Foundations of Wellbeing, and Opportunity. The Index measures social progress strictly using outcomes of success, not how much effort a country makes.

Social Progress Index is based on three factors
1.    Basic Human needs: (a) Nutrition and Basic Medical Care; (b) Water and Sanitation; (c) Shelter; and (d) Personal Safety
2.    Foundations of well being: (a) Access to basic Knowledge; (b) Access to information and communications; (c) Health and Wellness; and (d) Ecosystem sustainability
3.    Opportunity: (a) Personal Rights; (b) Personal Freedom and Choice; (c) Tolerance and Inclusion; and (d) Access to Advanced education

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