The Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit (SIPRU) of the Government of the Republic of Serbia has prepared the new, updated edition of the Social Development Index of Towns and Municipalities. Having incorporated the data for 2018, the Index is now available for eight years (2011–2018) and, owing to the methodological updates and adjustments over the past several years, the Index is stable and allows data comparability over time.
The Social Development Index is a composite index enabling the comparison of the achieved level of social development among towns and municipalities in the Republic of Serbia. The Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit initiated the development of the methodology and the application aiming to make this tool available to all stakeholders, from decision and policy makers to independent researchers and analysts. The application enables the presentation of scores on an interactive map, as well as the monitoring of social development trends at the local government level.
The Social Development Index enables the comparison of the quality of life among towns and municipalities in six areas: demographics, economic activity, education, social protection, healthcare, and other indicators of the quality of life and social participation. The Index has values between 1 and 100, where a higher index value means better living conditions in a given local self-government unit. The Index was created by aggregating 30 indicators in six areas, with the adjustment of the impact direction of certain indicators. In other words, if a given phenomenon negatively impacts the quality of life, its inverse value was taken. Since the used indicators were expressed in different units of measurement, they were all reduced to a 1–100 range through a normalization process in order to obtain a single Social Development Index of Towns and Municipalities.
The Social Development Index of Towns and Municipalities enables:
- sustainable measurement of the achieved level of social development of towns and municipalities and easy interpretation of data and scores;
- comparison among towns and municipalities in Serbia through an adapted aggregate indicator that measures the quality of life;
- monitoring of social development trends at the local level, for both the overall Social Development Index and all its domains;
- evidence-based policymaking;
- development of policies/measures by local level decision-makers, aimed at improving the quality of life in the local communities;
- comparison of various social development priority areas;
- individuals, public authority representatives, civil society organisations, researchers and the academia to consider all aspects of the quality of living in Serbia’s towns and municipalities.
The Index covers the period 2011–2018 and all towns and municipalities in the Republic of Serbia.* The application provides the option of selecting the indicator and the year to be displayed in a chart or a map. In addition, the Social Development Index application is optimized for use in all modern browsers, as well as on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets), irrespective of the operating system they use. The web application is optimized to work even with the slowest of internet connections, which makes it accessible to a wide audience.
* The Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia does not have access to the data for AP Kosovo and Metohija as of 1999; accordingly, the municipalities in the territory of AP Kosovo and Metohija have not been covered by the Social Development Index of Towns and Municipalities.