Romania ranks 44th out of 168 countries, climbing one position in the global ranking, but continues to be surpassed by all the other EU member states, according to the 2021 Social Progress Index, which analyzes the quality of life and social wellbeing and is conducted by the non-profit organization Social Progress Imperative with the support of Deloitte. Romania registers a score of 78.41 points out of 100, slightly higher than last year, which places it among the ranking’s third category countries, after Argentina, Hungary and Bulgaria.

Alex Reff, Country Managing Partner, Deloitte RomaniaFoto: Deloitte si Reff&Asociatii

The Social Progress Index (SPI) measures the quality of life and social wellbeing of citizens from 168 countries, based on the analysis of three main dimensions. The methodology consists of assigning a score for basic human needs category items - nutrition and basic medical care, water and sanitation, shelter and personal safety -, for wellbeing category items - access to basic knowledge, access to information and communications, health and wellness, environmental quality - and for opportunities category - personal rights, personal freedom and choice, inclusiveness, access to advanced education. Based on the score, the countries in the ranking are grouped into six categories arranged in descending order.

“We could have expected the COVID-19 pandemic to set social progress back by years, yet is it remarkable that the world index is actually slightly higher than last year (65.05 points out of 100, compared to 64.68 in 2020). This is another illustration of how resilient and resourceful individuals, organizations and societies have proven to be in the face of significant and persistent adversity. At the same time, we would all very much wish to see Romania move up from the very last position in Europe, which has not been the case this year despite progress on all three analyzed dimensions - basic human needs, wellbeing and opportunities,” said Alexandru Reff, Country Managing Partner, Deloitte Romania and Moldova.

In the global ranking, Romania is in the top 50 countries in all of the three analyzed categories, basic human needs (41st place), opportunities (45th place) and wellbeing (50th place). Analyzing the values assigned for each of the coordinates falling into these three categories, our country obtained the best scores for access to communications and information (35th place), personal safety (38th), personal rights (41st place) and access to advanced education (43rd place). On the other hand, the coordinates recording the lower scores are inclusiveness (85th place), health and wellness (81st place) and access to basic knowledge (73rd place).

Norway continues to rank first in the world, with a score of 92.63

  • In 2021, Norway, Finland and Denmark occupy the first places in the ranking, while Chad, Central African Republic and South Sudan are on the last positions.
  • Among EU member states, Finland (2), Denmark (3) and Sweden (7) are among the first countries in the ranking, with a good quality of life.
  • Among the Central and Eastern Europe countries, the best place is occupied by Estonia (21), followed by the Czech Republic (22), Slovenia (26), Lithuania (27), Slovakia (33), Latvia (34), Poland (35), Croatia (36), Hungary (42), Bulgaria (43) and Romania (44).

Overview in index changes between 2011 and 2021

The global average on social progress has improved by 4.63 points since 2011, reaching 65.05 out of 100 in 2021, although the gains are not evenly distributed across the components analyzed.

  • Since 2011, 147 countries (86% of those measured) have improved by one point or more.
  • In the last ten years, the world score has improved on nine components: access to information and communications, water and sanitation, shelter, access to advanced education, nutrition and basic medical care, access to basic knowledge, health and wellness, environmental quality and personal freedom and choice.
  • On the other hand, the world is declining on personal rights and stagnating on inclusiveness and on personal safety.

Spotlight on sustainability and the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Countries with higher social progress, which tend to have higher income, are likely to have higher greenhouse gas emissions. Australia (ranked 11) and the United States (ranked 24) are among the worst emitters of greenhouse gas.
  • Nevertheless, at every level of development, there are countries that have been highly effective in improving living standards and quality of life while emitting more modest levels. Standout countries such as Sweden (ranked 7) and Costa Rica (38) emit at relatively low levels compared to their peers even while out-performing them on many aspects of social progress.
  • Countries with lower social progress scores had a higher percentage of people who felt depressed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The global results of the 2021 Social Progress Index are available here and the detailed results for Romania can be seen here.