The results of the Index reveal that while the world is getting better in terms of social progress, the rate of progress has slowed significantly, and a sustained decline could lead to the first-ever “social progress recession” in 2023. In the past five years, since 2017, the rate of progress has nearly halved, and last year, the world only improved by 0.37 points, indicating stagnation. Notably, the full impacts of Covid-19 on social progress across the world are not yet known.
Given risks from climate change, economic turbulence and political change we see a significant risk that, for the first time, the world’s social progress will retreat in 2023.
COVID is part of the story due to the direct impact on health and an indirect impact through economic disruption, however world progress was already slowing down significantly at a time when we have major issues facing us.