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The Measure of America is the first-ever human development report for a wealthy, developed nation. It introduces the American Human Development Index, which provides a single measure of well-being for all Americans, disaggregated by state and congressional district, as well as by gender, race, and ethnicity. The Index rankings of the 50 states and 436 congressional districts reveal huge disparities in the health, education, and living standards of different groups. Clear, precise, objective, and authoritative, this report will become the basis for all serious discussions concerning the realization of a fair, just, and globally competitive American society.
About the Author
Sarah Burd-Sharps served as the deputy director of UNDP's Human Development Report Office until September 2006.
Kristen Lewis was a lead author of the water and sanitation report of the U.N. Millennium Project, led by Jeffrey Sachs, and writes extensively on development, gender, and the environment.
Eduardo Borges Martins was the chief statistician in the creation of the Human Development Index for Brazil's municipalities.
The American Human Development Project is an independent, non-profit initiative of Oxfam America, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, and the Social Science Research Council, with additional support from the Annenberg Foundation.
Table of Contents
Boxes, Figures, Maps, and Tables ix
Foreword Amartya Sen xi
Foreword William H. Draper III xiii
Executive Summary 2
Understanding Human Development 8
Shared Aspirations and Values: The American Dream 16
Capabilities in the United States 18
Human Poverty 19
Human Security 20
Measuring Human Development 22
What the American Human Development Index Reveals 26
Historical Trends: Forty-five Years of Human Development Progress 29
Presenting the American Human Development Index 30
The Building Blocks of the HD Index 44
A Long and Healthy Life 46
What Does the HD Index Show? 50
The Many Determinants of Good Health 55
Leading Causes of Death 56
Essential Conditions for Good Health 64
Health Insurance: The Policy That Unlocks Many Doors 72
Access to Knowledge 80
What Does the HD Index Show? 88
How We Fare Internationally 91
The Knowledge Journey 92
A Decent Standard of Living 120
What Does the HD Index Show? 125
Trends in U.S. Income and Wealth 132
Factors That Fuel Growth in Earnings Inequality 138
8-Point Human Development Agenda 150
For a Long and Healthy Life 153
For Access to Knowledge 154
For a Decent Standard of Living 156
To Raise the American Index for States and People Left Behind 158
Human Development Indicators 160
American Human Development Index Indicator Tables 162
U.S. Indicator Tables 173
OECD Indicator Tables 193
Methodological Notes 204
Index to Indicators 234
Maps At-A-Glance 236
What People are Saying About This
A rich analysis that will help us forge ahead in creating more economic dynamism, more effective social policies, and an expansion of everyone's freedom and opportunities.
We get in this report not only an evaluation of what the limitations of human development are in the United States, but also how the relative place of America has been slipping in comparison with other countries over recent years. In the skilled hands of Sarah Burd-Sharps, Kristen Lewis, and Eduardo Borges Martins, the contrasts within the countryrelated to region, race, class, and other important distinctionsreceive powerful investigation and exposure. In these growing gaps we can also see one of the most important aspects of the souring of the American Dream, which is so much under discussion today. I do not doubt that The Measure of America will receive the huge attention that it richly deserves.
This report shows that the quality of life issues we typically associate with the grossly inadequate social welfare programs of under-resourced countries are problems experienced by a shockingly large portion of the American population-perhaps a growing proportion.