Social progress – we must do better

The Social Progress Index for 2018, shows that Australia slipped from 6th (Tier 1) to 15th (Tier 2) place between 2017 and 2018.

Our lowest component scores were for:

  • Inclusiveness
  • Access to Advanced Education
  • Health and Wellness
  • Personal Freedom and Choice
  • Environmental Quality

Australia’s highest component scores related to:

  • Nutrition and Basic Medical Care
  • Water and Sanitation
  • Personal Rights
  • Access to Information and Communications
  • Shelter

A recent TED Talk by Social Progress Imperative CEO Michael Green highlights the way the Index can be used to measure progress towards achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which apply to all nations, not just those with ‘disadvantaged’ status.


According to the United Nations, “The Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. The Goals interconnect and in order to leave no one behind, it ís important that we achieve each Goal and target by 2030″. 

2018 SPI Method CovAdvocates and analysts looking to understand how progress is measured against these goals will find the SPI resources of great interest.  There are lessons here for how the achievement of our not-for-profit (for-purpose) goals can be measured, either using publicly available data, or by use of new data collection and analysis measures.

The SPI analysis suggests that unless we commit more fully to strategies by which to achieve the goals, we will miss our targets by many decades – at the cost of much suffering by people whose personal stories are masked by reference to aggregate data.

The Executive Summary of the 2018 SPI (16pp) can be found here.

The 2018 SPI Methodology report (36pp) is available here.


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