Nov 162010

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.

Click on the chart below to see an enlarged, clearer chart.

American Human Development Index by State

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Life Expectancy at Birth by State

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Educational Attainment and School Enrollment by Congressional District

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Median Earnings for the Population by Congressional District

To read the entire report, click on American Human Development Project of the Social Science Research Council.

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