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Youth Progress Index 2021: GDP doesn’t equal progress


14 Jun 2021


Social Europe & Jobs

Brussels, Belgium (10 June 2021): European Youth Forum, an independent and youth-led platform representing over 100 member organizations across Europe, today launched the second edition of the Youth Progress Index 2021.  The Youth Progress Index is the most comprehensive measurement of the quality of life of young people around the world. Based on the rigorous methodology of the Social Progress Index, it asks and answers the most important questions about the wellbeing of young generations. 


The Youth Progress Index brings together data on areas such as education, housing, safety, health and access to rights and freedoms and calculates countries’ progress scores without the input of economic indicators. Analysis indicates that countries with per capita GDP above 10,000 US dollars can improve young people’s quality of life regardless of financial means. Portugal and Lithuania, for example, score very differently in the Index, despite being at a similar level of GDP. 


This is one of the findings from the European Youth Forum’s second edition of the Youth Progress Index: countries with similar levels of GDP can achieve vastly different outcomes when it comes to meeting young people’s basic needs, wellbeing and opportunities to reach their full potential. Therefore, the European Youth Forum urges policymakers to consider this important finding, which clearly shows the impact of precise political choices, rather than of money. 


“The launch of our new Youth Progress Index comes at a crucial moment in time. This invaluable data source gives policy makers a unique country by country insight into the lives of young people and real evidence of what best practices will enable us to ‘build back better’, independent of GDP." says María Rodríguez Alcázar, a Board Member of the European Youth Forum.


In a global ranking of over 150 countries, all European Union member states fall within the first 47 positions. This means that, according to the Index, EU countries generally provide a decent quality of life for young people, with Norway ranking most highly, followed by Denmark and Finland. However, they still face challenges in areas such as personal safety, environmental quality, personal freedom and choice, and inclusiveness. For more information please visit


About the European Youth Forum


Formed in 1996, the European Youth Forum was created in the same spirit as the European Union - uniting the efforts of different youth advocacy groups - into a unified representational organisation committed to inspiring, empowering, and advancing the rights of all young people across Europe-via the young people they advocate for, its member organisations, and the policy makers in local and national governments.



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