Methodology

The Social Progress Index is a composite index which represents the first comprehensive framework for measuring social progress that is independent of traditional economic indicators, but complementary to them. The Index focuses on what matters to societies and people by giving them the tools to better understand and seize opportunities and building blocks to enhance and sustain the quality of their lives, as well as create the conditions to reach their full potential. 

Developed in collaboration with a team of scholars led by Professor Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School, the Index is being used by national and city leaders across Latin America, and the European Commission’s Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy for agenda setting, policymaking, prioritizing resource mobilization and measuring impact. 

The Index presents a granular, actionable picture of what matters most to people regardless of their wealth. It creates a common understanding of how well a community performs on the things that matter to all societies, rich or poor. As a complement to traditional measures of economic performance, such as income, the Social Progress Index provides better understanding of the bi-directional relationship between economic gain and social progress. Its unique framework offers a systematic, empirical foundation for governments, businesses, civil society and communities to prioritise social and environmental issues, and benchmark performance against other countries, regions, cities and communities to inform and drive public policies, investments, and business and community decisions. 

Guided by a group of academic and policy experts, the Social Progress Index follows a conceptual framework that defines social progress as well as its key elements. In this context, social progress is defined as the “capacity of a society to meet the basic human needs of its citizens, establish the building blocks that allow citizens and communities to enhance and sustain the quality of their lives, and create the conditions for all individuals to reach their full potential.” 

The Social Progress Index is built around a framework that comprises three architectural elements: dimensions, components, and indicators. To read more about the methodology for the index, download the report, below.