How is social development measured? The region of Västerbotten and the city of Umeå assists the European Commission in the development of a new index to measure social progress.
The region of Västerbotten and Umeå county is helping the EU-Commission in their development of a new index to measure social progress. The index will complement the traditional way of measuring social development, by comparing the growth of GDP. Västerbotten and Umeå is a part of a reference group that will support the EU-commission, professionals of statistics and scientists - in the development of the new statistical index.
For some time now, the European Commission has been working on developing a regional statistical index; the EU Social Progress Index (SPI), which will serve as a compliment to traditional ways of measuring growth. The index, which is still in the midst of the development process, is being created in a collaborate process between the European Commissions Dictorate General for Regional and Urban development (DG Regio), entrepreneurs for collection and processing data, as well as the regions who will be able to use the index when they plan their development strategies. A draft version of the Index was presented in 2016, which will now serve as the base for a pilot project where the index will be adjusted and developed into it's final version. It is in that process the reference group, of which Västerbotten and Umeå is a part, participates.
The region of Västerbotten is one of ten regions in the reference group that will take part in the pilot project of the index, and will make sure that the index is correctly designed to be a support in the regional development efforts. Long-term, the index will also be able to be used as tool to measure the EU:s efforts within different policy areas, to make sure that the efforts are centred on where they are most needed. The reference group is part of regions from all of Europe with different prerequisites. The most northern part of Sweden, which constitutes of Västerbotten together with Norrbotten, is one of the most strongly performing regions at the application of the index, and the regions has excelled in the work with e.g. enforcing a gender equality perspective on urban development.
Traditionally, it has been common to measure a regions development solely by GDP-growth, income or employment. This study has purposely omitted such economic input-indicators in the development of the SPI, and is instead built on fifty indicators including social factors and distribution of wealth that provide a more comprehensive view. Data is foremost provided by Eurostat but also from external partners who collects and processes data.