The EU Social Progress Index
2. Exploring the components and dimensions of social progress
.... and the indicators of the EU-SPI
3. Exploring the EU-SPI 2020 scores
3.1 Mapping the EU-SPI across Europe's regions
Social disparities vary greatly both across regions and across different aspects of social progress. Not surprisingly Nordic countries perform quite well while south-eastern countries lag behind. All top-ten regions are Swedish, Finnish or Danish. The Swedish region of Övre Norrland region is estimated to have the highest level of social progress in the EU, which was also the case in the 2016 version. This most northern Swedish region, with it sparsely populated territory, proved again to be at the cutting edge of social development in Europe. In this regions the synergic effort of businesses, academic and public institutions manages to challenge climatic and
geographic conditions such as the cold, dark winters, distance and sparsity to generate inclusiveness, innovation and enterprise.
3.2 The unfolding fan
3.3 Capital regions? Not always the most socially advanced
Capital regions are generally considered as hubs of remarkable agglomeration benefits leading to knowledge exchange through cross-fertilisation and radical innovation. But does living in the national
capital ensure greater social progress?
The answer is not straightforward. Only in ten cases are the capital city region scores better than the other
regions in the country. Notably, Brussels, Paris, Berlin and
Madrid are not the top performers in their countries. They start making the difference in the opportunity dimension where they score at the top in most countries. This reflects the situation where metropolitan areas offer their citizens more job opportunities, better access to health care and higher education. Urban citizens also tend to develop higher trust in others and a more inclusive view of minorities.
3.4 Compare one country's regions
... with another country's
3.5 The rounder the better: a closer look into regional performance
- better ranked regions on the EU-SPI (top row): Övre Norrland - Sweden, Helsinki-Uusimaa - Finland and Midtjylland - Denmark;
- lower ranked regions on the EU-SPI (bottom row): Calabria -Italy, Budapest - Hungary and Yugozapaden, Bulgaria.
3.6 Flipping the point of view
4. Link with post-2020 cohesion policy objectives
EU-SPI was developed as a measure to contribute to the ‘Beyond GDP’ agenda in
the European regional context. It is also useful 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 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. Cohesion
Policy has set different specific objectives for investment supporting growth for the funding
programming period 2021-2027. The table below lists these specific objectives, as they
were defined at the time of the publication of this document, and associates them to the different EU-SPI components.
5. More information
- 2020 EU Social Progress Index Working paper
- Raw data
- The network of regions under the EU-SPI multi-region pilot project
- 2016 edition: Methodological paper 2016
- Read and explore the Regional Competitiveness Index (2019)