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European Social Progress Index

The EU regional Social Progress Index aims to measure social progress for each EU region as a complement to traditional measures of economic progress, such as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Define in the framework of the "Beyond GDP" discussion as an alternative to traditional measures built with economic indicators, the EU-SPI is constructed using only social and environmental indicators to better reflect societal development.

It follows the overall framework of the global Social Progress Index and is based on a large number of indicators, primarily from Eurostat.

It is designed as a tool to facilitate benchmarking across EU regions on a wide range of criteria, helping policymakers and stakeholders to assess a region's strong and weak points on purely social and environmental aspects. Many of these aspects are at the heart of the investment supported by the EU's cohesion policy, whether in the area of basic services (health, education, water and waste), access to information and communication technologies, energy efficiency, education and skills, or pollution.

The Index measures social progress in European regions at the NUTS2 level, using twelve components that are further aggregated into three broader dimensions describing respectively basic, intermediate and more subtle aspects of social progress.

Basic human needs Foundations of wellbeing Opportunity
Nutrition and basic medical care Access to basic knowledge Personal rights
Shelter Access to information and communication Personal freedom of choice
Water and sanitation Health and wellness Tolerance and inclusion
Personal security Environmental quality Access to advanced education

All the EU-SPI scores are calculated based on a 0-100 scale, with 0 meaning the worst performance, 100 the best, ideal performance. This scale is determined by identifying the best and worst global (possible) performance on each indicator by any region in Europe. This type of normalisation allows the EU-SPI scores to benchmark against realistic rather than abstract measures and track absolute, not just relative, performance of the regions on each component of social progress as described by the index. 

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

Two editions of the index are available so far, the first published in 2016 and the second published in 2020. Despite a stable methodology, the time comparison between the two editions has limited validity. The 2020 edition is the result of a careful set of refinements to the indicator set and regional reliability.