GDP per capita is the most widely used indicator of a country’s economic performance and standard of living. But, over the years, increasing concerns have been raised by leaders around the world about the adequacy of GDP-based measures of economic well being which pay little attention to other important societal factors. A few years ago, the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress was created to address these concerns. In its final report, the Commission recommended complementing measures of GDP and economic production with additional social and environmental measurements that better capture people’s overall standard of living and quality of life.
More recently, a group of experts led by Harvard professor Michael Porter and MIT professor Scott Stern developed the Social Progress Index (SPI). A beta version of the Index based on 50 countries was introduced in 2013. After extensive feedback and further research, the Social Progress Index 2014, covering 132 countries, was released this past April.