World Facts

Top 20 Countries By Social Progress Index

Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland, with scores of 88.36, 88.06, and 87.97 respectively are the top 3 performers in the SPI.

Countries around the world strive to provide the basic needs to their citizens and ensure their comfort and safety. The governments are formed by the people or by the systems recognized by the people with the aim of ensuring that the needs of the countries are met. The governments ensure that the country is united at all time, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, secure the liberty of the country, and promote the general welfare of the citizens. All the development in a country and their resources are channeled towards ensuring a social progress. Social progress is therefore what a country is doing or can do improve its socio-political and economic infrastructure. This progress happens through direct human involvement in social enterprises. Social development of a country is measured by use of Social Progress Index

What Is Social Progress Index (SPI)?-4p

Social Progress Index (SPI) the extent to which a country is involved in the provision of the socio-environmental needs to its people. Social progress is determined by the country’s policy choices, investment, and the ability of the various stakeholders to implement the various development policies. In measuring the social progress, 54 indicators in the area of basic or vital human needs, well-being, and opportunities to progress are considered to show how a country performs relative to other countries. The SPI defines social progress as the ability of society to cater for the people’s basic needs, create the building blocks which allow its people to improve and maintain the quality of life and create relevant conditions for all citizens to achieve their full potential. The SPI is published by a non-profit Social Progress Imperative which is US based and was formed in 2012. The SPI bases its work on the works of economists Douglass North, Joseph Stiglitz, and Amartya Sen.


The SPI combines three dimensions namely the basic needs, the foundation of well-being, and opportunity. Each of the three dimensions includes four components which are made up of three to five indicators. The indicators selected are measurable with a consistent methodology across all the organizations of the countries under consideration. The method aims to highlight different interrelated factors revealed by the writings of Joseph, Douglass, and Amartya. The key features of the SPI are mainly two; the inclusion of the economic variable and use of the results rather than the inputs. The Social Progress Imperative, therefore, evaluates hundreds of possible indicators in developing the SPI.

History Of The SPI

In 2010, Global leaders sought to develop a more reliable measure of a country’s level of development and further understand its priorities leading to the formation of Social Progress Imperative and the launching of a better version of the SPI. The work was informed by the contribution of Amartya Sen on social development. The SPI was published in 2014 with 133 countries ranked while a better version of it was released in 2015. The methodology used to create SPI has also been used to create a socio-environmental performance in some areas around the world.

Top Countries By SPI As Of 2015

Norway is the leading country by SPI with a score of 88.36. The country scored 94.8 in basic human needs (BHN), 88.46 in the foundation of well-being (FW), and 81.82 in opportunity (O). Sweden ranks second with a score of 88.06 and a score of 94.83, 86.46, and 82.93 in BHN, FW, and O respectively. Switzerland ranks third with an overall rating of 87.97

Top 20 Countries By Social Progress Index

RankCountrySocial Progress Index
1 Norway88.36
2 Sweden88.06
3 Switzerland87.97
4 Iceland87.62
5 New Zealand87.08
6 Canada86.89
7 Finland86.75
8 Denmark86.63
9 Netherlands86.5
10 Australia86.42
11 United Kingdom84.68
12 Ireland84.66
13 Austria84.45
14 Germany84.04
15 Japan83.15
16 United States82.85
17 Belgium82.83
18 Portugal81.91
19 Slovenia81.62
20 Spain81.17

More in World Facts