Strong families are the foundation of healthy communities, upward economic mobility, and a robust civil society. American families aren’t flourishing the way they once were. But do we know why?
Leaders know that there are economic and social costs that harm society like dependency, a poor business climate, substance abuse, unemployment, low educational attainment and crime. But, they struggle to craft policies that will mitigate these costs in the long-run. Finding credible data to justify their positions is problematic. As a result, they end up merely guessing which policies might be better than others.
The 2018 Family Prosperity Index (FPI), shows Utah maintaining its status as the #1 state in the U.S. for family well-being, earning top scores for its young population, low dependence on government, and strong family culture. At the other end of the spectrum, New Mexico ranks last, scoring the worst in the Index’s family self-sufficiency, family structure, and family culture categories.
To help provide a crystal clear of human behavior in the states, economists Wendy Warcholik, Ph.D., and J. Scott Moody, M.A., have undertaken the Family Prosperity Initiative (FPI). The cornerstone of this project is the Family Prosperity Index, the first and only Index, which demonstrates quantitatively the link between economic and social well-being.
The FPI Index measures the strength and prosperity of families—and the nation—by combining the most important economic and social data into a single number and then ranking those states based on which states create the best environments for families to thrive. It fills in the gaps around other measures like the GDP, assembling all the pieces of the prosperity puzzle into a complete picture of the economy. No other measure takes into consideration both the economic and social choices of people in a state to create a holistic measure of human behavior in the states.
The 2018 FPI is based on an analysis of publicly-available, mostly government-produced data on 60 different variables ranging from personal income to single-parenthood to obesity, along with a host of other variables in six categories – economics, demographics, family self-sufficiency, family structure, family culture, and family health. By ranking states against each other, the Index allows for comparisons within regions and across the country.
With the Family Prosperity Index, leaders no longer have to guess which policies are better than others. They now they have access to the first and only Index that captures the relationship between economic and social wellbeing in their state providing a crystal clear roadmap to effective policy solutions. With the FPI, think tanks, policymakers, employers, civic and religious leaders and activists can prioritize where to spend their time most effectively and advocate for policies that improve the prosperity of families and the communities where they live.
In addition to publishing its annual national Index, the Family Prosperity Initiative partners with State Policy Network (SPN) think tanks and Family Policy Council affiliates to produce a series of “deep-dive” state studies each year. The 2017 studies included Maine and West Virginia.