Social Progress Index 2022: Costa Rica weakens in its human capital

26 2022 September
Mauren esquivel

Latin America maintains a 4-year trend of stagnation in the Social Progress Index; and in 7 of 12 components it fell back compared to the previous year.

In Costa Rica, the basic education component is deteriorating, occupying position 62 of 169 countries; although in social progress it maintains its second place in Latin America.

26 for September, 2022

  • Latin America and the Caribbean (69.00 points) maintains a stagnation trend that began in 2019 where it had 69.19 points. The effects of the pandemic and the international context continue to limit progress in the region.
  • Compared to the previous year, the region shows deterioration in 7 of the 12 components that measure social progress: Nutrition and Basic Medical Care, Housing, Access to Basic Knowledge, Personal Rights, Inclusion, Personal Freedom and Choice, and Access to Higher Education .
  • The 2022 Social Progress Index uses 60 social and environmental indicators to measure the level of collective well-being among 169 countries. The findings highlight that, overall, the world improved 0.37 points from last year; although 52 countries, 6 of them from Latin America saw a decline in social progress.
  • Norway (90.74 points) ranks first on the 2022 Social Progress Index, while South Sudan (30.65 points) again ranks last out of 169 countries. The United States (84.65 points), the eighth economy in the world by GDP per capita, ranks 25th in social progress, being the country of the group of 7, with the lowest IPS score; and with a negative trend.
  • In Latin America and the Caribbean, Chile (80.78 points) in position 36 worldwide is the best in the region; followed by Costa Rica (80.65 points) in position 37; and Uruguay (80.27 points) in position 38 of 169 countries. The countries with the lowest scores in the region are Haiti (45.42 points) in position 157; and Venezuela (58.62 points) in position 114.
  • The largest economies in Latin America such as Argentina (78.64 points) in position 41, Brazil (71.29 points) in position 62, Mexico (70.84 points) in position 66, and Colombia (69.83 points) in position 70, are remain practically stagnant compared to the previous year.
  • Panama, the Latin American economy with the highest level of income per capita adjusted for purchase parity (28,837 dollars) obtains 74.02 points. But it has lost positions since 2011, going from 49th place to 56th position in 2022.

Results for Costa Rica

  • Costa Rica repeats in second place in Latin America with a high level of social progress. Regarding the 12 components of the IPS, its highest ratings are given in Water and Sanitation (95.39 points) position 19; and Personal Rights (95.35 points) position 14.
  • In contrast, the lowest ratings are found in Access to Higher Education (58.95 points) position 60, and Personal Security (64.14 points) position 75.
  • The indicators with the lowest performance are Interpersonal violence (position 134), Traffic accidents (position 102), Population with secondary education (position 95), and Low consumption of vegetables (position 95).
  • The indicators with the most outstanding performance due to their global position are Enrollment in primary education (position 8), Satisfaction with water quality (position 15), Political rights (position 12), and Equity in access to power (position 12) .
  • Compared to the previous year, Costa Rica lost points in Access to Basic Knowledge, being the second country in the region where access to quality education deteriorated the most; and has lost 7 positions compared to 2011.
  • The Personal Freedom component also deteriorated due to the increase in young people who do not study or work, and the higher percentage of vulnerable employment in the country.

The non-profit organization Social Progress Imperative, a regional partner of INCAE Business School and in charge of calculating the IPS, warns of the deterioration of social progress worldwide as a result of the effects of the pandemic, geopolitical conflicts in Europe, economic instability and the environmental crisis.

Regarding the results of Latin America, Roberto Artavia, president of the board of directors of INCAE Business School said:

“The last 11 years show a worrying deterioration in access to quality education in 13 of 18 Latin American countries; precisely at a time when economic and social prosperity, as well as sustainability, depend more than ever on knowledge. It has been said that Latin America is a region rich in resources -and it is- but without human capital with the skills and abilities that the times demand, we will continue to be an unfulfilled promise, instead of a source of wealth and sustainability for the planet.”

Jaime García, Director of the Index of Social Progress in Latin America, said:

“Social progress is highly related to competitiveness, to attracting foreign direct investment, to institutional quality, legal certainty and human capital, all of which are factors for sustained economic growth; That is why the trend in Latin America is alarming, because not only are we stagnant in social progress, but our ability to generate economic prosperity is also affected.”

Map 1: Social Progress Index Map 2022

Find out more about the results of the Social Progress Index on our website:


More information

Jaime Garcia Gomez

Director of the Social Progress Index for Latin America


Phone: + 506 24372200