European Union Regional Index FAQs

Q: How does the 2016 European Union Regional Social Progress Index differ from the 2016 Global Social Progress Index?

A: The EU Regional Social Progress Index measures social progress for each of the 272 regions of the 28 member states of the European Union and complements traditional measures of economic progress such as GDP, income or employment. As it is intended to complement such measures, it purposely leaves these indicators out of the index. It follows the overall framework of the global Social Progress Index but, as do all adaptations of the Index, uses different indicators. As a result of these indicators and other differences in methodology, such as the years of data used to create the Index, performance on the EU Index is not comparable to performance on the global Index.

 

Q: Where can I download the data?

A: Right here.

 

Q: What are the data sources for the EU Regional Social Progress Index?

A: The European Union Regional Social Progress Index framework follows the Social Progress Index design principles–it has twelve components in three dimensions. The index includes 50 indicators which were carefully selected against strict criteria which ensure credibility and robustness of the results. Of these 50 indicators, 25 are official statistics provided by EUROSTAT and other EU institutions, and 25 are survey data from EU-SILC, Quality of Institutions Index, Gallup, and Eurobarometer. For more information on data sources and indicator definitions, please visit the Data Definitions page.

 

Q: Who is expected to use the EU Regional Social Progress Index and how?

A: The EU Regional Social Progress Index can appeal was designed to be useful to many stakeholders from business, civil society, and governments. It can inform development strategies of the EU regions. It can help regions to identify peers, at any level of economic development, from which they could learn and, if applicable, priorities issues they want to address with their Cohesion Policy Programme. It can serve as a sounding board for the European Commission to assess whether its programmes address the right issues in the right places. It can also help policy-makers to understand and prioritize a practical agenda to promote both social performance and economic growth, and contribute to improving the coordination of social investments of the various government ministries, social responsibility programs, and civil society initiatives.

 

Q: How should I cite this data?

A: Please Cite: European Commission Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG Regio), Orkestra Basque Institute of Competitiveness, and Social Progress Imperative (2016). European Union Regional Social Progress Index. [Data file]. Retrieved from http://www.socialprogressimperative.org/custom-indexes/european-union/

 

Q: How can I get involved in promoting use of this data in the EU?

A: If you live in the EU, there are several ways you can use the data of the EU Regional Social Progress Index.  You can use the data as way to advance the social progress in your region by shaping innovative partnerships and tools to address the most pressing problems or opportunities within your communities. You can also use the data and results and share them with your circle of influence as a way to raise awareness and advocate for attention of local authorities and social innovators within your region.

 

Q: I don’t think the data reflects reality where I live. How can I correct your information?

A: The EU Regional Social Progress Index is built on the best available data from recognized statistical sources, carefully selected against strict criteria which ensure credibility and robustness of the results. An important part of our methodology is to use the same data from the same source for the same indicator across all regions analyzed. As a result, we are unable to incorporate observations or alternate data from other sources. If you feel that we have used data that is simply not accurate, please use our comment form to let us know. We suggest in these rare instances that you also notify the source from which we took our data, as indicated on the Data Definitions page.

 

Q: Who created the European Regional Social Progress Index and why?

A: The European Union Regional Social Progress Index is a three-year joint effort of the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG Regio), Orkestra Basque Institute of Competitiveness, and the Social Progress Imperative.

 

Q: How do I most easily use the data visualization tools?

A: Visualizations are only supported on desktops (not mobile or tablet yet), at the default magnification or close to it. We are unable to provide more specific direction because of the variety of monitor sizes in use.

 

Q: How was the EU Social Progress Index created?

The European Union Regional Social Progress Index is a three-year collaborative project carried out by the Social Progress Imperative, Orkestra (the Basque Institute of Competitiveness), and the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy of the European Commission. The Index builds on the global Social Progress Index. The European Union Regional Social Progress Index is an aggregate index of 50 social and environmental indicators that capture three dimensions of social progress and their underlying twelve components. The Index framework is identical to that of the global Social Progress Index. Each component is measured through several indicators.

Four key principles guided the initial selection of the indicators exactly as for the global Social Progress Index:
1. they are exclusively social and environmental indicators (no economic measure is included);
2. they measure outcomes and not inputs;
3. they are relevant to all the regions and
4. they cover matters that can be directly addressed by policy intervention.

The Index is also outcome-based rather than input-based. Both input indices and outcome indices can help regional entities benchmark their progress, but in very different ways. Input indices measure policy choices or investments believed or known to lead to an important outcome, while outcome indices directly measure the outcomes of investments. As powerfully articulated by Amartya Sen in his development of the capability approach, a constructive way to move “beyond GDP” is to measure how well a particular society helps individuals realize particular capabilities and activities. Following this logic, the Social Progress Index has been designed as an outcome index.

Finally, one of the key differences with other wellbeing indexes is that the EU-SPI, by mirroring the global Social Progress Index, includes social and environmental indicators and excludes GDP or an income-based indicator. The aim is in fact to measure social progress directly, rather than utilize economic proxies. By excluding economic indicators, the index can systematically analyse the relationship between economic development (measured for example by GDP per capita) and social development. Measures that mix social and economic indicators, such as the Human Development Index used by the United Nations, make it difficult to disentangle cause and effect. The Social Progress Index has been designed to complement GDP in a way that it can be used as a robust, comprehensive and practical measure of inclusive growth.

Read the full Methodological Note.