The 2020 Social Progress Index again reveals striking differences between countries in their overall social performance, and in their performance across different components of social progress.
The Social Progress Index score is an average across scores for the three broad dimensions: Basic Human Needs, Foundations of Wellbeing, and Opportunity.
Our world average identifies which aspects of social progress are most and least advanced. If the world were a country, it would score 64.24 (out of a possible 100) on the Social Progress Index, ranking between Ghana and Azerbaijan. Breaking this average down across dimensions and components of social progress, there is a wide variation in how countries are performing. The world scores 74.65 in Basic Human Needs, 60.82 on the Foundations of Wellbeing dimension and 57.25 on Opportunity. Creating a society with opportunity for all citizens remains an elusive goal that many nations have failed to achieve.
While there is a clear correlation between the level of economic development and social progress, the relationship varies significantly. A country’s income group often does not correspond to its level of social progress, especially in middle- and lower-income countries. We group countries from highest to lowest social progress into six tiers from Tier 1 to Tier 6.
The Social Progress Index, based exclusively on indicators of social and environmental outcomes, offers a revealing picture of the levels of development in different countries that is independent of traditional economic measures. Countries achieve very different overall levels of social progress and widely differing patterns of social progress by dimensions and components. The index reveals that high-income countries tend to achieve higher social progress than low-income countries. Yet this relationship is neither simple nor linear.
Countries at all levels of development can use this data to assess their performance and set priorities for improvement. The Social Progress Index allows a strategic approach to social development that identifies areas for prioritization and investment.