The American Human Development Project, a nonpartisan initiative, completed their The Measure of America report. It measures three categories: health, education, and income. Some of the findings are as follows:
- U.S. life expectancy is 78.6 years, the same life expectancy for Chile. Chile spends 10% of what the U.S. spends on health care.
- The 11 “states with the shortest lifespans are in the South.”
- Washington, D.C. scored the highest in Education with 85.8% of adult residents being high school graduates and 26.7% having graduate or advanced degrees. Arkansas scored last with 82% of adult residents being high school graduates and 6.3% having graduate or advanced degrees.
- “In every ethnic and racial group studied except Asian Americans, women have higher educational attainment and enrollment than men.”
- “The wealth of the top 1 percent of households rose, on average, 103 percent (to $18.5 million per household) from 1983 to 2007. The poorest 40 percent of households experienced a 63 percent decline in wealth during the same period (to $2,200 per household).”
- Washington, D.C. has the highest median earnings of $40,342 and Arkansas has the lowest median earnings of $23,471.
- “The wealthiest 20 percent of U.S. households have slightly more than half of the nation’s total income. The poorest 20 percent have 3.4 percent of total income.”
- “In health, we must address the ‘Fatal Four’-the risk factors that are the most significant contributors to premature death, namely, smoking, poor diet, physical inactivity, and drinking to excess.”
- “In education, research shows that quality preschool is the single most decisive means to prepare disadvantaged children for elementary school.”
- In income, prevalent poverty affects health and education negatively. Therefore, financial literacy should be included in the education system and retirement savings should have automatic enrollment to help build up assets.
The 3 risks to a long and healthy life:
- The percentage of babies with a low birth weight
- Diabetes rates
- And, the trauma-related death rate.
The 3 risks to access to knowledge:
- The percentage of 3- and 4-year-olds not enrolled in preschool
- The percentage of fourth graders not demonstrating reading proficiency
- And, the percentage of students not graduating from high school on time.
The 3 risks to a decent standard of living:
- The number of children under the age of 6 living in households with incomes below the poverty line
- The number of marginally attached workers
- The number of renters with severe housing-cost burdens
- And, the number of elderly living in poverty.
To read the entire report, click on American Human Development Project of the Social Science Research Council.