About the Project
Measure of America provides easy-to-use yet methodologically sound tools for understanding the distribution of well-being and opportunity in America and stimulating fact-based dialogue about issues we all care about: health, education, and living standards.
The hallmark of this work is the American Human Development Index, an alternative to GDP and other money metrics that tells the story of how ordinary Americans are faring and empowers communities with a tool to track progress over time. The Index is comprised of health, education, and income indicators and allows for well-being rankings of the 50 states, 436 congressional districts, county groups within states, women and men, and racial and ethnic groups.
Through national and state reports, thematic briefs, and interactive websites such as DATA2GO.NYC, Measure of America aims to breathe life into numbers, using data to create compelling narratives that foster greater understanding of our shared challenges and greater support for people-centered policies. The Project was founded in 2006, and became an initiative of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) in 2008.
“As an executive steering committee member to the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, we have seen how the coalition has benefited from using Measure of America’s data on opportunity youth to inform and focus our efforts in cities, communities, and zip codes facing significant youth disconnections rates. We know that we, alongside our collaborators in the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, have been able to focus our resources and make a significant difference in connecting opportunity youth to employment opportunities with the help of Measure of America’s rigorous research and rich data.” — Virginia Tenpenny, VP, Starbucks Global Social Impact, Executive Steering Committee member, 100,000 Opportunities Initiative
“Ten years ago, as then Counsel to Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, I was first introduced to the first Measure of America National Report. I was intrigued and grateful then, as I am now, with the compilation of information that underpinned the state of our society with statistics that mattered. Information that accurately tells the stories about our health, education and well-being matter the most to us as policy makers and grant makers as we seek to steer resources to measurably improve the lives of our communities and our nation. The Measure of America continues to be a go to resource for every US policy and grant maker.” — Christopher G. Oechsli, President & CEO, The Atlantic Philanthropies
“We knew the goal of our Reconnecting Youth Campaign – increasing federal funding for Opportunity Youth to provide one million reconnection opportunities per year—would be hard to achieve. So when we learned from the Congressional Management Foundation that 91 percent of congressional staff say it is helpful for advocacy organizations to give members of congress information about the impact that a bill would have on their district and state, yet only 9 percent say they frequently receive such information, we saw an opportunity to stand out from the crowd. Using data from Measure of America on the number of opportunity youth in each congressional district, we were able to provide members of congress detailed information about how increased funding would help young people in their specific district. The results: compared to FY17 levels, Congress invested $121M more in FY18 and $228M more in FY19. We, and the opportunity youth served, owe Measure of America a debt of gratitude for the important role they played in our campaign.” — Thaddeus Ferber, VP, Forum for Youth Investment
“‘Two Futures’ brings into focus the long-term struggles of a segment of the population that hasn’t received nearly enough attention: young people who lose a connection to two core institutions, the education system and the labor market, in the period of early adulthood. The report provides a warning signal that if we don’t pay closer attention to this crucial period of the life course the consequences of disconnection can linger on for decades.” — Patrick Sharkey, Professor, Chair of Sociology Department New York University
“The maps and charts are a quick and accurate way to get a lot of information that is in an intuitive and readable format. I sometimes use it to check against my own data and research and other times to check on my understanding of certain demographic trends and aspects of our country.” — Sylvia A. Allegretto, PhD, Institute for Research on Labor & Employment at the University of California, Berkeley
“Measure of America is a great example of a leading edge application that employs visualization to enable access to information, exploration and understanding in complex data sets. We see this as an emerging area of technology that makes it possible for people who are not database experts to perform significant analysis and visualization.” — Stephen North, Executive Director, Information Visualization Research, AT&T Shannon Laboratory
“Congratulations and thank you for doing such significant work. I am not sure if others have described it as patriotic, but to me, that seems the most fitting adjective. As the data so clearly demonstrate, we have our work cut out for us if everyone is to realize the promise of America. Fortunately, your work has the potential to spark a constructive national conversation and chart a course for positive change.” — Karenann Carty, Ed.D., Dean of Academics at Monroe College
“While preparing a recent newspaper column on science and mathematics education in public schools, I chanced upon the very helpful website, measureofamerica.org. The analysis and presentation of data is excellent at this site, which I have visited several times since.” — Dr. Clif Cleaveland, Contributor to the Chattanoonga Times Free Press
“I stumbled upon your website while working on a project and what I found was PERFECT!…thank you for putting this website together. You have saved me a lot of time and have given me a lot of information so that I have been able to produce my own charts for my presentation.” — Joanna Greenlee, National Beef Packing Company LLC
“I am usually the skeptic on web tools for public policy purposes, but the new Common Good Forecaster is superb on both the substantive and ‘look-and-feel’ fronts.” — Michael P. Meotti, Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Higher Education
“The American Human Development Index enables businesses, government, philanthropy and scholars to track inequality by gender, or race and ethnicity, illuminating areas for intervention and areas of improvement, analytic insights that can help everyone prosper. Measuring America: 10 Years and Counting mobilizes social science for the public good, which is the mission of the Council.” — Alondra Nelson, President, Social Science Research Council
“SSRC’s 10th anniversary ‘Measuring America’ report reveals both the need and power of intersectional analyses. We can no longer simply talk in blanket terms about race, ethnicity, class, gender and region since the American Human Index informs us that overall well-being varies at the intersections of multiple identities. The good news is that on average, some people’s lives are improving significantly. The regrettable news is that circumstances are still quite challenging for many others. Our society has much work to do to improve the welfare of its entire populace still; and this informative report provides some direction and necessary considerations.” — Dr. Prudence Carter, Dean, Graduate School of Education at UC Berkeley
“[A Portrait of New York City] from Measure of America brilliantly articulates the stark, profound, and disparate realities faced by New Yorkers depending on race, ethnicity, and neighborhood. The report also helps us understand that in order to have a New York City we can all be proud of we must work strategically and collectively to solve our most urgent problems.” — Sheena Wright, President & CEO, United Way of New York City
“A Portrait of New York City is exactly the type of local data-driven research that policy-makers and Community Board members need in order to make sense of complex demographic trends and make informed decisions to improve the life prospects of all New York City residents.”— Gale A. Brewer, Manhattan Borough President
“A Portrait of New York City paints a rich portrait of a greater metropolis that is, on the whole, thriving, diverse, and befitting of its title as a global city. At the same time, the report reveals differences in human development by micro-location that sometimes rival those between nation-states. Luckily, it also offers a plan of action to improve the outcomes of all New Yorkers while reducing disparities.” — Dalton Conley, the Henry Putnam University Professor in Sociology at Princeton University
“This newer and smarter way of measuring well-being will allow us to understand how income, health and education all intersect to contribute to whether you and your community experience well-being or live at a great disadvantage. We knew there were grave disparities across the County, but now [with A Portrait of Los Angeles County] we have a more reliable way of geographically pinpointing the areas of greatest need.” — Sheila Kuehl, LA County Supervisor and Board of Supervisors Chair
“As a Trustee of the Marin Community Foundation, and as a native to the County of Marin, I cannot say enough about the tremendous impact the Portrait of Marin has created here. Almost daily I get insight to enlightened conversations and new opportunities that are influenced by the findings. Many agencies and community groups have put to service the report and are using it to create change…Thank you Measure of America for your amazing expertise and an excellent report!” (More) — Barbara Clifton Zarate, Trustee, Marin Community Foundation
“We have been practically deluged with emails about the success of our event and the important role the Portrait of Marin report can have on addressing disparities in Marin…Our Trustees are extremely proud of how this moment reflects on the goals and mission of the Foundation.” (More) — Fred Silverman, Vice President, Marketing and Communications, Marin Community Foundation
“We’re very impressed with your work and we are looking at it closely to see how we might do a better job of setting what we call the ‘performance context’ for banks to measure their lending to low-income areas.” — David Erickson, PhD, Manager, Center for Community Development Investments, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
“We’re currently working with some of the United Ways offices to address some of the Human Development Index disparities listed in A Portrait of California. Having this breakdown affords us the ability to speak further on a local level. Thanks for your partnership and the great work you and your team are doing!” — Henry Gascon Manager, Program & Policy Development, United Ways of California
“Thanks to all of you at Measure of America. This is such an excellent analysis of the people of California. I’m certain it will initiate a great deal of discussion in my class.” — Denise Spooner, Professor of History at California State University, Fullerton, and Co-editor of H-California
“The two issues of The Measure of America are an impressive demonstration of the improvements that have occurred in both the quantity and quality of data relating to the well-being of the population of this country…Your reports should serve as a basic resource for courses on American society in both our senior high schools and universities.” — Denis Johnson, former educator
“#1 of our Favorite Books of 2008” — The Globalist
Rated an Outstanding Title by the Association of American University Presses
“This book, with its well-written narratives and understandable graphics, is a clear concise picture of our communities. Useful for a variety of research purposes, this holistic look at the country should be required reading for the current administration and public policy makers.” — Karen Pangallo, American Association of School Librarians.
“I highly recommend this book for all public libraries.” — Tina Maria Beaird, Public Libraries Association
“This book is strongly recommended for those who want to know how people are doing in the United States. This question seems especially relevant now because the effect of the financial crisis on Americans is being felt through rising levels of unemployment, increased household debt, and reduced personal assets, as well as lost health insurance — a drama that is likely to broaden and deepen existing inequalities.” — New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 360 (2009)
“I brought along a book which I’m going to recommend to everybody – it’s a very well done study by a project called the American Human Development Project…And it’s something that I think you’ll find handy…to help place your state or your community in a national context.” — Jeffrey Sachs, Summit to Realize the Dream, October 22, 2008
“For the Secretaries of Labor, Education, Health, Housing, Transportation, and White House staffers on domestic policy, a highly useful gift would be: The Measure of America: American Human Development Report 2008-2009…It should sit on the desk of all domestic officials and serve as both a benchmark and a roadmap for progressive reforms in the Obama administration.” — Derek Shearer, Professor of Diplomacy at Occidental College and former US ambassador, “An Obama Holiday: What to Give a Progressive President and his Team.” – Huffington Post.
“The information in the Measure of America report, A Portrait of Mississippi, has been invaluable during my preparation for an upcoming presentation on Health Equity in Mississippi. This very informative depiction of Mississippi’s health, educational and economic data has provided me with an important resource for telling the story of health disparities in our state. The Human Development Index, a measure of our state’s composite deficits in these areas, relays the urgency to reach beyond biologic factors to address health disparities and inequities.” — Evelyn R. Walker, MD, MPH, Mississippi State Department of Health
“While at Oxfam America, I was involved in two studies with Measure of America, the Portraits of Mississippi [and] Louisiana. They provided such an important baseline for discussion and advocacy…Legislators also used these documents to prepare their own briefs on a number of issues that supported their own legislative efforts and a prominent local advocate for low-income and minority citizens told us the Portrait of Mississippi was one of Oxfam’s greatest legacies on the Gulf Coast.” (More) — Kimberly Miller, former State Policy Officer, Oxfam America
“I am a strategic planning consultant and will be assisting my new clients in transitioning from a government commission to a sustainable nonprofit. A Portrait of Louisiana is setting the context of what’s going on in the state and where the community needs may lie.” — Bobbi Bilnoski, President & CEO, Concinnity Network
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