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The Measure of America, 2010-2011

Mapping Risks and Resilience

Kristen Lewis, Sarah Burd-Sharps, Jeffrey Sachs

Publication Year: 2010

The Measure of America, 2010-2011, is the definitive report on the overall well-being of all Americans. How are Americans doing—compared to one another and compared to the rest of the world? This important, easy-to-understand guide will provide all of the essential information on the current state of America.

This fully illustrated report, with over 130 color images, is based on the groundbreaking American Human Development Index, which provides a single measure of the well-being for all Americans, disaggregated by state and congressional district, as well as by race, gender, and ethnicity. The Index rankings of the 50 states and 435 congressional districts reveal huge disparities in the health, education, and living standards of different groups. For example, overall, Connecticut ranked first among states on the 2008-2009 Index, and Mississippi ranked last, suggesting that there is a 30-year gap in human development between the two states. Further, among congressional districts, New York's 14th District, in Manhattan, ranked first, and California's 20th District, near Fresno, ranked last. The average resident of New York's 14th District earned over three times as much as the average resident of California's 20th District, lived over four years longer, and was ten times as likely to have a college degree.

The second in the American Human Development Report series, the 2010-2011 edition features a completely updated Index, new findings on the well-being of different racial and ethnic groups from state to state, and a closer look at disparities within major metro areas. It also shines a spotlight on threats to progress and opportunity for some Americans as well as highlighting tested approaches to fosteringresilience among different groups.

Using a revelatory framework for explaining the very nature of humanprogress, this report can be used not only as a way to measure America but also to build upon past policy successes, protect the progress made over the last half century from new risks, and create an infrastructure of opportunity that can serve a new generation of Americans. Beautifully illustrated with stunning four-color graphics that allow for a quick visual understanding of often complex but important issues, The Measure of America is essential reading for all Americans, especially for social scientists, policy makers, and pundits who want to understand where Americans stand today.

Published by: NYU Press

Front Matter

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Boxes, Figures, Maps, and Tables

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pp. x-xii

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pp. xiii-xiv

Bravo to the American Human Development team for another breakthrough volume. The Measure of America 2010–2011 could not be more timely. As poverty is rising and high unemployment is causing searing pain across society, we need an accurate understanding of America’s diverse and complex conditions. No other ...

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pp. xv-xvi

Words cannot express our profound gratitude to those who have supported this project. We are grateful to our funders for believing in this initiative and for their steadfast support and encouragement. They include: the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation—Steven M. Hilton, Ed Cain, and Bill Pitkin—and the Lincy Foundation—...

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Key Findings

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pp. 2-9

“You manage what you measure.” Among management consultants, this phrase has become something of a mantra. With the rapid advance in recent years of computerization and digital networks, the capacity of businesses, universities, governments, and other institutions to measure results has grown exponentially....

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Introduction. Human Development in America Today

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pp. 10-35

America’s ability to fulfill its promise as a nation that offers everyone a fair chance relies on broadly shared freedom and opportunity. And today more than ever, raising our standard of living depends upon effective competition in the global marketplace. How are we faring in these two missions? ...

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CHAPTER 1. What the American Human Development Index Reveals

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pp. 36-57

Gross domestic product (GDP) is a vital measure. Tracking the expansion and contraction of market activity and production tells a crucial part of a nation’s story—but an incomplete one. Complementing GDP with data on the health, education, and income of the typical American along with information about who...

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CHAPTER 2. A Long and Healthy Life

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pp. 58-109

On March 23, 2010, after a year of bare-knuckled, highly partisan debate, President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The law requires that all Americans have health insurance by 2014 and forbids insurance companies from denying coverage based on preexisting conditions....

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CHAPTER 3. Access to Knowledge

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pp. 110-151

Knowledge is a catalyst for a productive life—for surmounting limitations and for developing and realizing a meaningful existence. Mountains of empirical evidence demonstrate the overwhelming influence that access to knowledge commands over other dimensions of human well-being. For individuals, more education ...

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CHAPTER 4. A Decent Standard of Living

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pp. 152-193

The recession that began in the last quarter of 2007 and continued officially through the last quarter of 2009 changed the lives of many and shook the confidence of most, but the financial downturn did not treat all equally. Among those who study labor patterns, one of the most surprising findings was the ...

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CONCLUSION. Agenda for Action: Reducing Risks,Building Resilience

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pp. 194-207

Hurricanes are indiscriminate in the application of force: flying and falling debris threaten life and limb, trees snap and topple, roads are rendered impassible. But while the storms themselves are indiscriminate, their effects are not. Homes set on higher ground may escape the peak storm surge and resultant flooding even ...

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Human Development Indicators

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pp. 208-269

The following indicator tables were prepared using, to the degree possible, official U.S. government data from the most recent available year. For cross-country comparisons, data are drawn from international organizations, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Bank, ...


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pp. 270-320

E-ISBN-13: 9780814765050
E-ISBN-10: 081476505X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814783795
Print-ISBN-10: 0814783791

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2010

OCLC Number: 676695831
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Measure of America, 2010-2011

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Social indicators -- United States -- Statistics.
  • Quality of life -- United States -- Statistics.
  • United States -- Social conditions -- 21st century -- Statistics.
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