Create A Social Progress Index

Social Progress Close to Home

Regional Index

• Territorial units are pre-identified using existing & commonly used administrative units and/or statistical classifications. • Uses publicly available secondary data sources. • Regional indices can be developed at various scales.

City Index

• Territorial units are identified according to data availability and administrative districts or wards within cities. • Uses a mix of secondary and existing primary data sources. • Compares cities, or parts of one city, to each other.

Community Index

• Territorial units measured are customized according to specific objectives. • Uses primary data sources including micro data collected through the application of a customized survey.

Assessing the Impact

“The Social Progress Index provides a concrete framework for understanding and then translating policies into an action oriented agenda which advances both social and economic competitiveness in Europe’s regions. This is essential for us as policymakers.”

“Social progress depends on the policy choices, investments, and implementation capabilities of multiple stakeholders—government, civil society, and business.”

“We are the first nation in the world to use the Social Progress Index to measure social progress in every canton.”


Step 1

Concept Development

From demand to an agreed idea of a collaborative project

The Social Progress Imperative (through its core team, regional programs, or 
local networks):

  1. Receives an Expression of Interest to develop a subnational index.
  2. Gathers information on partner organizations and project objectives.
  3. Identifies anchor organizations in charge of leading the project both politically
 and technically.
  4. Receives a detailed concept note.

Step 2


From an agreed idea to a detailed, fully financed and self sustainable partner index project

Once the concept note has been agreed, the anchor organization(s):

  1. Convene a series of meetings involving potential partners.
  2. Organize a planning workshop with key interested partners.
  3. Identify a statistical lead in charge of assessing data availability.
  4. Provide financial resources and/or identifies sources of funding.

The Social Progress Imperative (through its core team, regional programs or local networks):

  1. Facilitates a planning workshop to gather key information.
  2. Provides a datasheet and supervises data assessment.
  3. Develops and submits a full project proposal.

The Social Progress Imperative and the anchor organizations sign a Memorandum Of Understanding.

Step 3


From a project document to a fully fledged subnational social progress index

Once the Memorandum of Understanding has been signed and the resources have been secured, the anchor organization(s):

1. Appoint a technical team in charge of developing the index.
2. Appoint a network manager in charge of facilitating collaboration.
3. Organize and chair the steering committee of the project, involving key supporting partners.
4. Organize the validation process of the beta version of the index, involving local experts and key partners.

The Social Progress Imperative (through its core team, regional programs and/or local networks):

1. Provides guidelines for the identification and allocation of key organizational and human resources.
2. Trains the technical team of the project.
3. Supervises the technical work, especially by assessing the database and by providing feedback to the beta version of the index.

The Social Progress Imperative, through its core team, provides final approval of the alpha version of the index.

Step 4

Communication of Results

From a complete database to communication products to action-strategies

Once the alpha version of the index has been formally approved for launching, the anchor organization(s), through the steering committee, the technical team and/or the network manager:

  1. Promote the use of the Social Progress Index to inform pre-identified decision making processes, through the Steering Committee
  2. Coordinate the elaboration of a communications strategy.
  3. Supervise the elaboration of key communications products.
  4. Organize the dissemination of the outcomes of the project (process, results, strategies).

The Social Progress Imperative (through its core team, regional programs and/or local networks):

  1. Supports the elaboration and implementation of a communications strategy.
  2. Provides access to the Social Progress Imperative website and open data platform.

Why It Matters

New Lenses on Entire Countries

Costa Rica is the first country outside Europe to use a Social Progress Index to assess each and every municipality as a distinct community across its entire geography. The new Social Progress Index for Cantons of Costa Rica shows which aspects of social performance to prioritize in each of all 81 cantons.