Social Progress at a Glance: 2019 in Review

Thanks to our amazing team and partners who have worked tirelessly to provide new insights and support informed policymaking in an effort to further social progress around the world, 2019 has been one of our best years yet. The 2019 Social Progress Index provided comprehensive data for 149 countries all over the world. It shows that the world has continued to improve, but that progress has been slow and uneven. We need your support to ensure that we can continue to scale adoption of the index and help decision-makers use data to build a better future.

Below are just a few highlights of what we have achieved together over this past year.

Expanding Network

In the US, we launched the Social Progress Index (SPI) for California Counties, which provided specific insight into the lived experience of people across the state. Zooming in on Silicon Valley, we launched our first US cities index, SPI: San Jose—in conjunction with Microsoft, Wipfli, and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation—which maps social progress in the city at the census tract and zip code levels.

This fall we released Social Progress indexes for two G20 countries: South Africa and Mexico. SPI: Provinces of South Africa—led by our partners at IQ Business—is the first-ever index on the African continent. Additionally, México ¿cómo vamos? and INCAE Business School, in conjunction with the Social Progress Imperative, launched IPS México, providing detailed social progress data for the 10th largest country in the world.

We also released the SPI: Provinces of Panama, in partnership with the Ministry of Economy and Finance and INCAE Business School. This is the first Social Progress Index to provide analysis of social progress disaggregated by gender, which creates a detailed picture of both overall quality of life and gender-specific challenges in each province.

In Iceland, we hosted the fourth annual What Works Summit, which brought together leaders and innovators from around the world to share best practices, forge new partnerships, and discuss the challenges that face social progress and the achievement of the SDGs. Keep an eye out for the fourth annual What Works Summit coming in 2020.

Sustained Impact and Awareness

The Social Progress index continues to be a tool that is utilized in policy and financial decisions around the world. It has also gained increasing acclaim as an alternative to economic measures of success. This year INCAE business school and Centrum were highlighted in the Financial Times for their innovative use of SPI. The second edition of the SPI: Cantons of Costa Rica was released and has helped facilitate private-public partnerships between the government and financial institutions. Additionally, the Minister of Tourism in Costa Rica presented the Tourist Destination Index at the OECD.

The global index results have also been featured in the Financial Times and Politico, as well in many other media outlets. Our work was also highlighted in an editorial in the Banker written by Sharon Thorne. We are excited about the increasing awareness of the Social Progress Index and look forward to carrying this momentum into the new year.

Thriving Leadership

In July we welcomed David Cruickshank, former Deloitte Global Board Chair and a member of the Social Progress Imperative board since 2015, as our new Board of Directors Chair. David took over from Brizio Biondo-Morra, who has transformed SPI over the years and continues to serve on the Board of Directors. We also welcomed four new board members: Sharon Thorne, Jose Viñals, Silvana Kock-Mehrin and Rina Kupferschmid-Rojas. Under new leadership our global network continues to expand, readily engaging with new organizations and governments to further social progress around the world.

Moving Forward

We have a lot of work to do in the year ahead. We are excited to expand our US cities initiative across the country and grow our global network around the world, turning index into action and impact. As always, we continue to support the SDGs and sustainable development, moving beyond GDP and traditional economic measures to provide a more holistic measure of success.

Our achievements thus far have been made possible by your help and commitment to social progress. As we look ahead to 2020 and build on these successes, we ask for your continued support. Your gift will help more countries and communities redefine how they measure success and how they use their resources, to put people and planet first. 

Thank you for a wonderful year filled with meaningful and data-driven change.

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