2016 EU Regional Social Progress Index

In Brief

Unprecedented Detail

The European Union Regional Social Progress Index measures social progress on 50 indicators across the 272 regions of the 28 European Union member states to help inform development strategies.

Two Europes?

Published for the first time on October 11, 2016, the Index shows no clear distinction between old (EU-15) and new (EU-13) member states. Overall performance in new member states from Central Europe is on par with regions of old member states in Southern Europe.

Not about Money

Like other Social Progress Indexes, we find that variation in performance by region is not explained by wealth, in terms of GDP per capita, alone. Regions of similar wealth have different levels of social progress; regions of different wealth can achieve similar social progress.

Assessing the Impact

“To drive sustainable and equitable growth we need to focus on measurements which go beyond GDP. This is not to side line or ignore economic data and policies, but to put a country’s, and in this case a region’s, societal well-being on an equal footing with dominant economic indicators that are commonly used. The EU Regional Social Progress Index does this by providing a revealing picture of the economic and social progress of the 28 EU member states.”

“The Social Progress Index provides a welcome alternative measure of national and regional wellbeing, focusing on a broad range of outcomes relevant for wellbeing rather than on material inputs and outputs. As such, it has the potential to serve as an important tool of policy making, facilitating monitoring and assessing the outcomes of regional interventions or regional impacts of national policies.”



“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.”

Informing Development Strategies

The EU Regional Social Progress Index aims to measure social progress for each region as a complement to traditional measures of economic progress. As it is intended to complement measures based on GDP, income or employment, such indicators are excluded from the index. Measuring social progress can inform the development strategies of EU regions. Please note that this index is not created for the purpose of funding allocation and does not bind the European Commission.

Learn More

How We Do It

Organizations Involved