What is social progress index ?

  • Social progress is a term used to describe a societies' move beyond just the GDP numbers to look at factors that are instrumental in understanding real improvements in the lives of people.
  • It is imperative from two viewpoints.
  • First, it lets one focus on issues that are critical for not just the economy, but help in improvements in the quality of life of citizen's in a society.
  • Second, It is because the GDP in itself not a perfect measure of the goals that a society should pursue.
  • Thus, for inclusive growth it is imperative to look at both, economic growth in GDP terms as well as social progress in terms of the Social Progress Index (SPI).
  • The indicators are mostly from social and environmental domain and are outcome oriented thus have an actionable agenda that can be improved over time.
  • It is instructive to look at the results to understand the performance of countries relative to others, as well as their performance along key dimensions.
  • There is also a stage of development for social progress that classifies countries into six tiers from 'Very High Social Progress' to 'Very Low Social Progress.'
  • These are - 'Very High Social Progress', 'High Social Progress', 'Upper Middle Social Progress', 'Lower Middle Social Progress', 'Low Social Progress' and 'Very Low Social Progress'.


  • At present ,out of 133 countries rated on indicators of well-being such as health, water and sanitation, personal safety, access to opportunity, tolerance, inclusion, personal freedom and choice India has secured the 101th place.
  • This is lower than India's rank, of 93, for GDP per capita income.
  • Even Nepal and Bangladesh rank higher than India on the Social Progress Index (SPI) ratings to be released globally on 8 April 2015.
  • Norway has bagged the first rank; the U.S. is at the 16th place.