The State of the Future

Improving Global Foresight with 28 variables

Defining the State of the Future Index (SOFI)

State of the Future Index chart

The State of the Future Index (SOFI) indicates the socioeconomic state of the world ten years hence. The Millennium Project constructs the SOFI based on the judgments of its worldwide network of experts regarding the most-plausible end values for selected macroeconomic, social and environmental measurements. Each SOFI constituent has been recorded for twenty or more years, providing a long-lived track record on which to base projections. Policy makers can use the SOFI as an easy-to-understand tool to assess the consequences of different policy choices, as well as for illustrating the combined potential outcomes of policies.


Break Down Per Variable

Combining many variables into a single index number leads to a loss of detail, masking variations among sectors, regions, or nations. As a result, many people interested in tracking social or economic conditions prefer to review the variables they consider important in conjunction with the aggregated index. In support of that goal, the charts below present the normalized values for each SOFI constituent.


Total Constituent Value Changes (From 1991 to 2025)

SOFI Constituent Contribution Detail

All variables at a glance

Break Down Per Year

The State of the Future Index (2015 Edition)

Total Constituent Value Change (Selected Year v. Prior Year)

The Millennium Project

The Millennium Project connects futurists around the world to improve global foresight. It was founded in 1996 after a three-year feasibility study with the United Nations University, Smithsonian Institution, Futures Group International, and the American Council for the UNU. It is now an independent non-profit global participatory futures research think tank of futurists, scholars, business planners, and policy makers who work for international organizations, governments, corporations, NGOs, and universities. The Millennium Project manages a coherent and cumulative process that collects and assesses judgments from over 3,500 people since the beginning of the project, selected by its 56 Nodes around the world. The work is distilled in the annual "State of the Future", "Futures Research Methodology" series, special studies, and integrated into its Global Futures Intelligence System.



Data

The SOFI consists of time-series data for twenty-eight socioeconomic variables, weighted as shown in the table below. The Millennium Project sources most of the data from the World Bank, but other sources include ilo.org, footprintnetwork.org and unesco.org.

Methodology

The Millennium Project solicits the expert judgment of numerous futurists to create the SOFI. These experts choose the variables to include in the SOFI, how to weight each variable's contribution to the SOFI and then forecast best- and worst-case scenarios for each individual SOFI constituent. The projected values are then re-based to the current year and aggregated to create the State of the Future Index.

VariableWeight
Water source81.77
Literacy78.42
CO2 emissions76.20
Unemployment75.00
Terrorism incidents75.00
Physicians75.00
Income inequality75.00
Health expenditure75.00
Gross National Income75.00
Freshwater75.00
Renewable energy73.55
Biocapacity73.30
Undernourishment72.94
Corruption72.57
VariableWeight
Poverty72.40
Wars and arm conflicts71.08
Population growth70.67
Mortality rate70.16
Research & Development68.21
Energy efficiency68.02
Forest area67.34
Life expectancy67.10
Gender equality66.94
High skilled employment65.00
Foreign investment60.02
School enrollment60.01
Freedom rights60.00
Internet users55.00

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