Posts Tagged Affluence

We’re Number 22! We’re Number 22!

According to the folks at the American Human Development Project, Utah Ranks 22 out in the US on the Human Development Index.  The index looks at multiple measures – access to knowledge, income, and life expectancy.  Utah seems to do well on the first and third but poorly on income.  We rank better than Wyoming, Idaho and Nevada but well below Colorado.

Connecticut ranks first on the index, West Virginia last.  Of the top ten, only Colorado and Hawaii aren’t located in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic.  Of the bottom ten, 7 are Southern states (West Virginia is a border state, Montana and New Mexico are western states). 

A couple quick facts that jumped out at me:

In measuring differences in well-being, money alone does not tell the whole story. For example, median earnings in both Oregon and Texas is around $27,300. Yet, Oregonians today live on average about three-quarters of a year longer than Texans. While nearly 90% of adults in Oregon have at least a high school diploma, in Texas fewer than 80% have.

States that are not the most affluent can achieve superior outcomes in health. Utah ranks 39th in the nation on earnings, yet it is in the top 10 in terms of longevity.

Life expectancy in the United States is 78.6 years, on par with Chile, though Chile spends 1/10 what the United States spends on health care.

Residents of 29 countries live longer than Americans do, while spending as little as one-eighth as much per person on their health.

The bottom five states for school enrollment (student ages 3 to 24) are all located in the Mountain West and the Plains—Wyoming, Montana, Nevada, and the Dakotas. Enrollment in these states is around 80%, as compared with 90% for states with the highest school enrollment rates.

On the international scale, U.S. students performed below the OECD average, ranking 21st out of 30 affluent democracies in average science score and 25th out of thirty countries in average math score. (Canada, meanwhile, ranked second in science and fifth in math).

The wealthiest 20% of U.S. households have slightly more than half of the nation’s total income. The poorest 20% have 3.4% of total income.

The wealth of the top 1% of households rose, on average, 103%from 1983 to 2007. Wealth in the poorest 40% of households dropped 63% during the same period.

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