EU Regional Social Progress Index: The Basics

The new EU Regional Social Progress Index, published today by the Social Progress Imperative, provides a comprehensive analysis of social progress in 272 regions across the 28 EU Member States. Comparing the like-for-like lived experience of 500 million people, the Index is based on assessments of the things that really matter in people’s lives, like opportunity, basic human needs, health, and access to knowledge and education.

This new Index measures social progress for each EU NUTS2 Region as a complement to traditional measures of economic progress. The EU Regional Social Progress Index 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, prioritise 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.

Building on the same framework of dimensions, components, and indicators used for the flagship global Social Progress Index of countries, the EU Index captures 50 separate indicators from measures like infant mortality, overcrowding, murder rates, access to residential broadband, air quality and tolerance. Regions’ overall scores and scores for the different aspects of social progress data are graded on a scale of 1–100.

As with other Social Progress Indexes, the EU regional Index demonstrates that wealth is no guarantee of social progress.

The EU Index provides a unique opportunity for disruptive change in three areas:

  • reassessing the impact of regional economic models
  • promoting better public investments
  • delivering a more coherent policy approach in Europe’s regions

The Index could support the practical implementation of a European cohesion policy which makes regional development more results-oriented. It also identifies a collaborative approach to tackling some of Europe’s major challenges and improving wider regional competitiveness. There is a real opportunity for the Index to support the development of a common performance management framework that Europe’s regions could utilize as a means of evaluating their strategic progress in achieving their own regional development objectives.

The EU 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. Please note that this Index is not created for the purpose of funding allocation and does not bind the European Commission.

Explore all the data in the 2016 EU Regional Social Progress Index.

Explore the 2016 EU Regional Social Progress Index on the European Commission website.

Review the slide deck of findings on the 2016 EU Regional Social Progress Index.

Read the press release on the EU Regional Social Progress Index.

Read the methodological note on the EU Regional Social Progress Index.

Read the Frequently Asked Questions on the EU Regional Social Progress Index.