The results of the Social Progress Index 2020 were published on 10 September 2020, providing a complete picture of the life experience of over 7 billion people in 163 countries. For the first time ever, the index measures social progress 10 years later.
The index is the most comprehensive measure of a country’s social and environmental performance independent of economic factors, and complements traditional measures of success such GDP. The index captures outcomes related to all 17 Sustainable Development Goals and reveals that, if current trends continue the world will not achieve the goals until 2082. The data also indicates that, unless urgent actions are taken, the Covid-19 pandemic will set us back another decade, delaying achievement of the goals to 2092—more than 60 years after the 2030 target date.
- In general, the world is improving. Since 2014, the world average score increased from 60.63 to 64.24, and there has been improvement on eight of 12 components of social progress.
- Despite this overall progress, Personal Rights and Inclusiveness have declined since 2011, while the world has stagnated on Environmental Quality and Personal Safety.
- Norway ranks first in the world on social progress with a score of 92.72.
- The fastest progress over the past decade is among developing countries, with The Gambia, Ethiopia and Tunisia demonstrating notable improvement.
- There are important outliers that have declined on social progress. Most notably, the United States continues to backslide, declining both in absolute terms and relative to its wealthy, world-power peers, ranking just 28th in social progress and is only one of three countries declining in social progress over the past decade.
These are just some of the findings from the 2020 Social Progress Index. This year Social Progress Imperative also partnered with Ipsos to conduct polling on public opinion surrounding social progress in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. This research indicates that a majority of people across countries hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic want social progress–rather than economic growth–to be at the fore, not only as the crisis continues but also once it ends. Young people, in particular, prefer that their countries prioritize social outcomes even after the pandemics is over. The full report on is available here.
Amidst the dual challenges of Covid-19 and economic decline, it is more critical than ever that we have the very best social data to understand the current moment and guide the recovery. Visit www.socialprogress.org to explore the full results and download the full 2020 dataset—complete with 10 years of historical data—to learn more about key trends in your country and around the world.
To help turn data into urgent actions required to accelerate social progress around the world, you can make a donation at https://secure.qgiv.com/for/socproimp.