Social Progress Index 2015 released by Social Progress Imperative

Apr 10, 2015 15:16 IST

Social Progress Index (SPI) 2015 was released by the US-based non-profit organisation Social Progress Imperative on 8 April 2015. On population-weighted basis, the SPI score for the whole world stands at 61 and at 64.39 when SPI scores are based on simple average of countries.

The SPI 2015 ranks 133 countries in terms of social progress from highest to lowest which are classified into six tiers from Very High Social Progress to Very Low Social Progress. These 133 countries cover 94 percent of the world’s population.

Along with these 133 countries, the SPI 2015 also provides data for 28 countries with partial data. This brings coverage to a total of 99 percent of the world’s population.

India with a score of 53.06 is ranked 101st and is placed in the Low Social Progress Group. In 2014, India with a score of 50.24 was ranked 102 out of 132 countries.

Main Highlights of the SPI 2015

  • On a population-weighted basis, the world scores 68.33 in Basic Human Needs, 66.45 on the Foundations of Wellbeing dimension and 48.23 on the Opportunity dimension. Creating opportunity remains a goal that many nations fail to achieve.
  • On a simple average basis, the world scores 70.82 in Basic Human Needs, 67.68 on the Foundations of Wellbeing dimension and 52.03 on the Opportunity dimension. Once again creating opportunity sees a drop in score despite the fact that developing countries have a smaller weight under this approach.
  • Ten countries in the world have been ranked as Very High Social Progress Countries as these countries generally have strong performance across all three dimensions. The average dimension scores for this tier are: Basic Human Needs is 94.77, Foundations of Wellbeing is 83.85, and Opportunity is 83.07.
  • As with most high-income countries, the top 10 countries score lowest on Ecosystem Sustainability and Health and Wellness.
  • Nearly all of the top 10 are relatively small countries, with only Canada having a population greater than 25 million.
  • The top three countries in the world on Social Progress are Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland with closely grouped scores between 88.36 and 87.97.
  • Canada is the only country among the G7 countries that has been ranked in top ten on SPI 2015
  • Under the High Social Progress Countries tier, there are 21 countries. This group includes a number of the world’s leading economies in terms of GDP and population, including the remaining six members of the G7: the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, the United States, France, and Italy. The average dimension scores for this tier are: Basic Human Needs is 90.86, Foundations of Wellbeing is 77.83, and Opportunity is 73.82
  • The third tier of Upper Middle Social Progress Countries comprises of 25 countries.  This group reveals that high GDP per capita does not guarantee social progress. Average scores for this tier are: Basic Human Needs is 80.66, Foundations of Wellbeing is 73.52, and Opportunity is 57.73.
  • The fourth tier Lower Middle Social Progress Countries comprises of 42 countries. The average dimension scores for this tier are: Basic Human Needs is 72.34, Foundations of Wellbeing is 66.90, and Opportunity is 47.14
  • Under the Low Social Progress Countries tier, there are 27 countries which include many Sub-Saharan African countries. The average dimension scores for this tier are: Basic Human Needs is 50.03, Foundations of Wellbeing is 58.01, and Opportunity is 38.35.
  • Under the Very Low Social Progress Countries tier, there are 8 countries. The average dimension scores for this tier are: Basic Human Needs is 38.46, Foundations of Wellbeing is 48.55, and Opportunity is 26.05.
  • The lowest three countries in the world on Social Progress are Afghanistan, Chad, Central African Republic.

SPI 2015 and BRICS countries

Among the BRICS countries, Brazil at 42nd rank leads the pack with a score of 70.89 and India with a score of 53.06 is placed at 101 position and is the worst country in terms of social progress. The other countries of BRICS and their ranks are: South Africa (63rd), Russia (71st) and China (92nd).

SPI 2015 and SAARC countries

Among the SAARC countries, Sri Lanka at 88th rank leads the pack with a score of 60.10 and Afghanistan with a score of 35.40 is placed at 131 and is the worst country in terms of social progress. The other countries of SAARC and their ranks are: Nepal (98) Bangladesh (100), India (101) and Pakistan (122).

SPI 2015 and India

  • India falls into the Low Social Progress group with a score of 53.06 was ranked 101st.
  • India has low scores common to lower-middle income countries, but shows particular weakness in Health and Wellness and Tolerance and Inclusion.
  • India's score 58.87 on Basic Human Need, 57.38 on Foundations of Well-being dimension and 42.93 on Opportunity dimension

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.

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